News & Press: Member Spotlight


Friday, April 21, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Carla Rosenbaum
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     Jessica Manke, PTA    








April 2017


Jessica Manke is Central District's PTA Delegate to the May 2017 Delegate Assembly. A native Californian, Jessica loves the outdoors, swimming, and spending time with her dog. Jessica's love of exercise science brought her to upstate NY at SUNY Canton to pursue her PTA degree. Get to know Jessica Manke, this month's member spotlight!

We are excited to have a PTA representative from Central District as a Delegate to DA. Can you tell us how you got involved with your district, and what attending DA means to you as a professional?


I am so pleased and excited to be the PTA representative from the Central District for the Delegate Assembly. When I was in school I was given the opportunity to attend the Delegate Assembly as a Student Delegate in 2015. This was a rewarding experience as I was able to see the roles, we as clinicians, have in our practices that affect our overall therapeutic approach. I was able to discuss issues that both PTs and PTAs address every day. More importantly how we as a community are working towards amending them.  As I grow in my role as a PTA I’m hoping to become more involved with the DA.


Tell us a little about your background, and how your path lead you to where you are in your career today.


I have always been very active in sports and in my community. In 2010, I graduated from CSU Bakersfield with a Bachelor’s in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Exercise Science. I fell in love with Kinesiology. Studying the way the body moves, adapts, and grows while participating in athletics fascinates me. After graduating I decided I wanted to further my career and become a Physical Therapist Assistant. I moved from California to Northern New York, and was accepted into SUNY Canton’s Physical Therapist Assistant program. I studied under Deborah Molnar DPT and Jennifer McDonald PT, MS, who together helped me expand my knowledge and passion for physical therapy. Their teachings, paired with my rich clinical experiences at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, NY and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD allowed me to start a career right out of the program.


How long have you been a member of the NYPTA? Can you tell us how you have been involved, as well as how membership in your professional associations has enhanced your career? 


I have been a member since 2014, starting out as a student PTA. While in school, I became interested and involved in the NYPTA community as a Director Intern in 2014 at the Board of Directors meeting and a Student Delegate at the Delegate assembly in 2015. At the Board of Directors meeting and the Delegate Assembly, I was exposed to the various roles and involvement that PTAs can have in motions and regulations which affect how we as a Physical Therapy community treat our patients.


How is technology helping or changing your experience in the physical therapy industry? What is your favorite new technology or device?


I just started working so I have only used computers and iPads for charts, care plans, and documentations. Right now I work at a Skilled Nursing Facility and our company uses Casamba and Point Click Care for documentation. This I find is helpful to access nursing and social work notes. I love having iPads as I find it is helpful to stay on track with documentation. The one thing I love now, but honestly thought I was going to hate it, is how you have to punch patients in and out when you treat them. I find this very helpful to keep myself accountable for time as well as ethical in my treatments.


What is your favorite hobby or past time, and how have you incorporated that into your career if at all?


I’m a fish. I played water polo and swam my whole life. I’m very much a fish out of water as well! I love to swim now on my free time as well as take my dog on hikes.

During my clinical rotation at Walter Reed I was able to work in the Aquatic Rehab Program. This was an amazing experience where I felt I was able to creatively approach my clients’ treatment plans. Being fully immersed in the world of water sports, myself, helped me incorporate new and different techniques and exercises with my patients, as well as challenge more independent patients. I even taught Aquatic Exercise classes during my time as a lifeguard and I incorporated these strength and endurance exercises into my experience at Walter Reed.


What advice would you give to new professional, or a student of physical therapy as they embark on this career path?


Being a relatively new graduate, my advice is a bit cliché, however, it still rings true and it is important for all young professionals to remember.


“As one door closes as another one opens”


In my last clinical rotation at Walter Reed I was offered a position to work full time after graduation. Unfortunately, due to funding and restructuring, I was left with no job opportunities, no prospects, and basically stuck in a rut. You could say, I definitely had tunnel vision.


In the end I found a job at a skilled nursing facility, and to be honest I was very scared and reluctant to pursue this opportunity. For me it was the best thing I could have done as I found a love for the atmosphere, love of the population, and I felt I was continually learning and bettering myself as a clinician and person.                               


What else would you like your fellow NYPTA Members to know about you?


I was born and raised in sunny Los Angeles, California. So moving to Northern New York was definitely a shock. I remember my first ice storm. I didn’t think to move my car inside. When I went out in the morning it was covered in about 5 inches of ice! All I had was a spoon in my bag, and I slowly chipped away at the ice to be able to open my door. I can now proudly say I have learned how to survive the winters and even purchased a house in Syracuse. My Chi-weenie dog Oscar and I are now officially residents of New York and proud to call it my home!

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