Heather Philben '15DPT: Enjoy Your Simmons Experience

August 10, 2017

Heather Philben

We caught up with Heather about her work as a Physical Therapist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center!

What program were you in at Simmons? What's your current job title?

I graduated with my Doctorate in Physical Therapy. I work at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) as a Physical Therapist on the oncology floor.

How did Simmons help prepare you for your career?

Simmons prepared me for my career in countless ways. Simmons encourages a collaborative community, which is essential to working in a hospital setting. Something that the physical therapy program specifically prepared me for is to care in a patient-first manner. The physical therapy program strongly encourages the separation of a patient from their impairment and I try to practice with that mindset daily.

What's a typical day like at your job?

My day starts at 7:30 a.m. For the first half hour of the day I gather the list of patients on my floor and triage to determine the patients that are of the highest priority. After I speak with other physical therapists and we compare priorities, I head to my floor and begin chart reviewing for my first patients. I have rounds at 10:00 a.m. daily where I meet with the nurses, residents, and case managers to assist in determining a plan for each patient. The remainder of my day is primarily spent seeing patients and documenting.

How did you know the organization was a good fit for you?

Two aspects of BIDMC that I was immediately attracted to was the mentorship within the physical therapy department and the overall inclusive impression the hospital gives to the community. Now that I've worked at BIDMC for almost a year I could not imagine myself elsewhere. It felt like a seamless transition from Simmons.

What was the job application process like?

I knew I would be taking my board exam in October 2015 so I began my job hunt around August 2015. I started slowly just to see what was out there, then as I approached the boards I began honing in on jobs that I could really see myself at. I began reaching out to people I had met on clinical rotations that I knew were working at the hospitals I was applying to. Using my network was essential to getting my job.

How has it been transitioning into a young professional?

Because the final semesters of the physical therapy program are clinical rotations where you’re expected to hold a full caseload of patients independently, the transition into the professional world wasn’t difficult from a clinical standpoint. The biggest difference I found is learning to trust what you know.

What advice would you give to the current Simmons students?

Even through all of the stressful moments in college, take time to enjoy this experience. There are so many times that I can remember getting caught up in counting down until graduation and focusing on the end game, but some of my favorite memories and best friends were made at Simmons.

What's your Simmons moment?

My appreciation of Simmons comes from a number of small moments that made my experience at Simmons wonderful, challenging, and memorable.