Hey y’all! I’m back with another interview for “Life as a PT”!
Today I am super excited to introduce Dr. Kate Hamilton, PT, DPT, OCS!
Kate Hamilton earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Emory University, is a board certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist, and specializes in pediatric and adolescent sports medicine with an emphasis on girls sports, figure skating, gymnastics, and dance medicine. Kate is a physical therapist for Team USA Figure Skating, worked at the 2016 World Figure Skating Championships, 2016 Champs Camp at the Olympic Training Center, and traveled with Team USA to the 2016 Cup of China in Beijing. Kate also spent several years as a physical therapist on traveling Broadway shows, including The Lion King, Wicked, War Horse, and Come Fly Away. Kate is the owner of Girl Fit Physical Therapy in Newton, Massachusetts, providing a full spectrum of individual and group strength and conditioning, performance enhancement, injury prevention, and physical therapy services for girls.
How did you decide that you wanted to pursue a career in physical therapy?
I started volunteering at a medical summer camp when I was 14 and became interested in a career in healthcare. I was specifically interested in helping people be able to participate in the activities they love. At Camp Aldersgate, kids who spent their whole year in a wheelchair would get to canoe, scuba dive, and fly down a zip line. It was an incredibly inspiring experience and I spent 8 more summers as a camp counselor there. After that first summer, I went and shadowed a physical therapist and made up my mind. I remember writing a paper my junior year of high school about wanting to become a physical therapist. It’s funny to look back on. I was so confident in my decision and I couldn’t have been more right. However, I had no clue all the awesome things physical therapists could do, and all the cool opportunities that would come my way.
What was your favorite part of PT school?
I was so nervous about gross anatomy, but it ended up being such an amazing experience. I wasn’t able to imagine it being any different than just looking at an anatomy text book, but it definitely was. After gross anatomy, I felt like I could look at a person and really see what was going on inside of them. It was a surreal feeling. I’m so thankful for that opportunity and so thankful to the people who donated their bodies to make that possible.
What type of setting do you work in/What does a typical day look like?
I own a small outpatient private practice specializing in adolescent female athletes called Girl Fit Physical Therapy. Owning a clinic is a ton of work but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love being able to create a special and unique experience for my patients. A typical day for me starts with a morning full of administrative responsibilities followed by a full day of treating patients. Daytime hours at the clinic are pretty chill, then when school gets out the clinic gets fun and loud and a little crazy at times (fun crazy). We also intersperse our day with teaching injury prevention classes for girls. It’s a really fun environment and sometimes I have to pinch myself because I can’t really believe I get to do EXACTLY what I love.
What is your favorite thing about the PT profession/your job?
I love that we get to really establish relationships with our patients. My favorite part is seeing how much it means to them as they are able to return to the sports and activities they love.
What advice do you have for pre-PT or current DPT students?
Keep your mind open to different types of physical therapy, get involved in the APTA early (don’t just pay your dues, really get involved and meet people!), and if you have an opportunity to do some outreach and see what PT is like in another country, do it! I am a much more well rounded physical therapist because I explored some opportunities in areas I never knew I’d enjoy. I would not be where I am today without the networking, mentorship, and inspiration I have gained from being a member of the APTA (starting as a student). And, volunteering in a PT clinic in Nicaragua was one of the most eye opening, inspiring, and humbling experiences of my career.
If there is anything else you would like to touch on or add, please do so below!
You’ve made a great decision and picked a really amazing career. Enjoy every moment! If you’d like to see a little more about everyday life at Girl Fit Physical Therapy check out our Instagram @girlfitrocks and/or feel free to come by say hi sometime. (:
Thank you so much to Kate for sharing, and giving us a peek into her life (and background) as a physical therapist! You can connect with her through her website, or on Instagram @girlfitrocks. If you would like to learn more about Kate’s journey to becoming a clinic owner and , check out the blog post she wrote for the APTA: Finding Your Niche.
If you are a practicing PT and would like to be featured in my next post (or if you know any PTs that would be interested), feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! If you missed the first “Life as a PT” post, don’t forget to check that out! Stay tuned to see the next PT that will be featured!