Newport News, VA –The first class of Physical Therapist Assistants graduated from the Riverside The Riverside Physical Therapist Assistant Program, established in 2012, gives students the opportunity to learn how to treat patients who are recovering from injuries and illnesses and to help them regain movement, build strength and manage pain.  PTAs work alongside physical therapists and help provide treatment. Riverside's program is the first not-for-profit program offered on the Peninsula.

The need for PTAs is on the rise. During the program, students complete 720 hours of clinical experience in several outpatient and inpatient facilities.

The Riverside PTA program is rigorous. Seven of the 15 graduates have already accepted clinical positions in nursing homes, inpatient and outpatient facilities, including those who accepted positions within Riverside Health System. For Tori Keener, getting into the physical therapy field was first about helping people live better lives. In physical therapy, "all of the services are working together towards a common goal to help the patient move on to the next phase of their life," said Keener, one of the program's first graduates who is now working in Riverside Regional Medical Center's Acute Care therapy services.

Seeing patients reach that new phase and move well again makes the hard work in the PTA program worth it.

"We really became like a family," Keener said. "We relied on each other for a lot of different things, not just scholarly. I don't think I would have had that experience anywhere else."

About Riverside Health System's Physical Therapy Assistant Program:

The Riverside Health System's School of Health Careers Physical Therapy Assistant Program was established in 2012 and is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.

Graduates of the program are eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) to become licensed to practice as a Physical Therapist Assistant.

Riverside School of Health Careers is certified to operate in the State of Virginia by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).



Published: June 3, 2014