By the time Amanda Aksamit
graduated from Crete High School, she knew exactly what she wanted to do. Five years
later, she is living that dream as a physical therapist assistant at Complete
Physical Therapy in Lincoln.
“I enjoy putting my creative
ideas together and getting my hands on patients who are post-surgical,” said
Aksamit, who has worked at CPT since she graduated from Southeast Community
College in March 2016. “You have to have sympathy for patients and have a grasp
on the exercises they’re doing and how they feel.”
Aksamit shadowed a physical
therapist assistant when she was in high school. She knew from that moment it was
the career choice she wanted to make.
“I was always interested in
sports, but also the medical field, but didn’t want to work around blood,” Aksamit
said. “I figured it was the best choice to help people and make their lives
Since there was a waiting
period to get into the program, Aksamit worked as a technician at another
clinic. Once Aksamit got into the PTA program at SCC, she said the time flew
“It was so nice because it
was only 15 months,” she said. “They don’t hold your hand, and you make your
own clinical schedule and decision making.”
Program Chair Bridget Clark said
the program is extremely popular at SCC. In the past there was a wait list up to three years long. Now the program will utilize a selective admission process to cut down on the wait time, and students can start the program sooner.
“Our exam pass rates are
really good,” Clark said. The first-attempt pass rate for the national physical
therapist assistant exam at SCC is 93 percent. “We have a very good program for
a very good price.”
A regular on the SCC Dean’s
list, Aksamit completed her clinical rotations at Complete Physical Therapy and
was hired for a full-time position as soon as she graduated.
“She was very professional,
had a great work ethic and a passion to learn more, something I don’t see all
the time,” said Nick Reiss, physical therapist and owner of the clinic.
Clark said he told her she was
the best student he ever had in clinical rotations. Prior to hiring Aksamit, he
had never employed a PTA at his clinic. Clark says they make a point to work
with students on patient interaction and professionalism.
“It’s not just the technical
skills, it’s how you motivate patients,” Reiss said. “She gets it. She’ll push
herself to learn more and to grow. I like to surround myself with people who
are not complacent.”
Aksamit continues to grow in
her new profession and hopes to someday make the transition to a physical
therapist. For now, she’s enjoying her new career.
“It’s rewarding to see the
impact you have on other people’s lives,” she said.