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Physical Therapist

By Carolyn Stedinger

Twentysomethings across the country are forging their own career paths in the new world of work.

With strokes and traumatic brain injuries, every goal the patient meets is a really big thing. It's fascinating to see what they know and what they can do. - Michele Posner

Working model: Physical Therapist

Michele Posner


Physical therapist, New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens

Bachelor's degree in health science and a master's in physical therapy, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, Pennsylvania.

Career goal:
"To get my specialty certification and work in a physical rehabilitation center."

Favorite thing about job:
"Working with patients and watching their progress."

Least favorite thing about job:
"Dealing with the health care system and insurance companies that won't pay for needed treatment."

How she landed the job:
"I responded to an ad in a professional journal. I already had lots of experience from four clinical internships."

Philosophy for success:
"Work hard and do whatever it takes to help patients function as best as they can."

The job:
Posner works in the hospital's inpatient physical therapy gym, where she sees about 10 patients, with all types of disorders, each day. "Our goal here is to get patients to the level of functioning they were at before they entered the hospital. But we don't usually have much time with them, because they are discharged as soon as they are medically stable," she says. Posner also continues to take courses to keep up with the ever-changing medical world.

After she gains 10 years of practice experience in the physical therapy gym, Posner can take her specialty exam. She plans to specialize in neurological disorders. "With strokes and traumatic brain injuries, every goal the patient meets is a really big thing. It's fascinating to see what they know and what they can do."

With her specialty certification, Posner can work in a rehabilitation center where patients receive all-day intensive therapy. She looks forward to being able to follow through with the treatment patients need. At rehabilitation centers, "you really get to spend time with your patients," she says. "No one's pushing them out as fast as possible."

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