Advanced Practice PT August 2019

AUGUST 2019 | 406-770-3171


When I was still a kid dreaming about what I’d be when I grew up, nothing was further from my mind than physical therapy. I was shy and a bit awkward as a child, and I was determined not to get stuck in a job where I’d have to work with people all day. Instead, in my daydreams I was an intrepid photographer for National Geographic, traveling the world and capturing animals, not people, through my lens. I was born and raised in Great Falls but made the trip to Eastern Washington University for college to pursue my passion for photography. By the time I graduated with my bachelors of studio arts, my vision for my future had narrowed even further. I didn’t want to take snapshots at weddings, shoot senior photos, or do any of the other run-of-the-mill gigs most beginning photographers need to get by. I had my eye on art photography exclusively, which reduced my career opportunities even more. After college, when I was back living with my parents, everything changed. One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is that I grew up overweight, so I learned the importance of exercise early on. I developed a passion for staying active, and I developed a good understanding of muscle function and how the body worked. So, when my dad had a really bad fall, my intuition took over, and I felt like I knew exactly what to do to

help him get back on his feet. It was a life-changing moment for me, and it felt good to use what I’d learned through exercise to help someone. The more I dwelt on that experience, the more obvious it became that a career in PT, not photography, would be the best life path for me. Because of my experience in helping my dad, I ended up going back to school to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree from Great Falls College MSU and became a physical therapist assistant. Now I love coming in to Advanced Practice PT every day, and working one-on-one with people has helped me leave my shyness behind and come out of my shell. The things I enjoy most about my job are building those relationships, being challenged, and thinking outside of the box to come up with new exercises and treatment options. No one was more surprised than me about the first item on that list. I see between 10–12 patients every day at Advanced Practice PT, and many of them are repeat clients who come in twice a week. I don’t necessarily work with them every time, but I see most of my patients at least once each week, and I love getting to know them. I particularly enjoy hearing stories from elderly clients and veterans about their lives; it’s fascinating to learn what they went through and what life was like in Great Falls back in the day. Working in

collaboration with my patients, listening to them, and understanding their needs allows me to create a program that can maximize their treatment. Continuing my education is extremely important to me, and I’ve made it a point to keep learning while at Advanced Practice PT so I can offer my patients the most up-to-date techniques. Down the road, I’d love to go back to school again to become a full physical therapist, but I don’t think it’s the right time for me yet. When I’m not at the office, you can probably find me in the gym doing cardio, weight training, or sweating it out in one of my group HIIT classes. I also love getting outside with my long-term boyfriend, who is in school

for nursing and plans to become a physician's assistant. He is as

enthusiastic about staying active as I am, and we love to bike, fish, and camp together in this beautiful state, which we’re lucky enough to call home.

–Anna Fry

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