News & Press: Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight on Cathy Talbett, PT, DPT

Friday, March 1, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Gloria Baker
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Cathy Talbett, PT, DPT

Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Pediatric Physical Therapy

Certified in Mechanical Diagnosis and Treatment

Clinical Supervisor for Rehabilitation Services, Jones Memorial Hospital




March 2019

Cathy Talbett knew she wanted to study physical therapy when she was in high school.  She loves working in rural healthcare and understands its challenges whether it's access to resources or the socioeconomic challenges of her patients and community.  Working in the same community that she grew up in has been very rewarding for her.


Cathy began her active involvement with NYPTA by serving as her district's Legislative Liaison, and currently serves as District Chair of the Finger Lakes District.


Take a few minutes and get to know this month's member spotlight with us! Enjoy the Q&A with Cathy below.

How long have you been a member of the NYPTA? What is your best experience thus far? 


I have been a member since 1992 (with a gap of a couple of years after I graduated).  As far as best experience, I don’t think that I have just one!  Although very intimidating at first, I really enjoyed being our District’s Legislative Liaison.  It was how I began my active involvement, and allowed me to be active without jumping into a larger role right away.  I was able to attend the Federal Advocacy forum twice and that was a phenomenal experience.  I have also enjoyed being active within our District and being able to represent the outer geographical reaches of the District. 


Tell us a little about your background, and how your path led you to where you are in your career today. What’s your favorite moment of your career so far?


I knew when I was going into my junior year of high school that I wanted to study physical therapy in college.  I had no previous experience with PT to lead me there, it just happened.  I had the opportunity to observe a therapist at a local hospital who was really a one-woman show at the time.  She was therapist, biller, scheduler, housekeeping—she did it all.  She was working with a young girl with spastic CP who was non-verbal.  She picked this girl up on the mat table, and they were able to communicate and work through the session of stretching and positioning. I was just struck with the interaction between them. By the end of the session, I knew that this was definitely what I wanted to do.


I attended D’Youville College and graduated in 1995 with my BS/MS.  I started my career at Oneida Healthcare Center in acute care and out-patient.  During my time there, I also did aquatics and became the CCCE.  In 2001, I came to Jones Memorial Hospital, where I had completed my first clinical in 1993.  At JMH, I started out in acute and out-patient.  In my time at JMH I have also practiced in aquatics, home care, school based PT, early intervention, and Occupational Medicine. In 2007, I graduated with my transitional Doctorate in PT from Daemen College.  I became Clinical Supervisor for Rehab Services 5 years ago, where I oversee 7 different disciplines, assist in the oversite of 3 other medical offices, and I'm the CCCE for our OT and PT programs in addition to still seeing patients.


I am certified in Mechanical Diagnosis and Treatment, Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Pediatric Physical Therapy, and a Certified Lean Expert through the University of Rochester.


I have too many favorite moments to choose!  Most of them are with patients and families I have worked with.  Passing the Board exam for Pediatrics is pretty high on that list too!


What are some of the key opportunities and challenges facing the physical therapy profession?


Challenges and opportunities really go hand in hand.  The perceived value of our profession by other members of the medical team is a challenge, but also an opportunity.  Another challenge would be access to care, and this is multi-faceted.  It includes co-pays, deductibles, geographic barriers, and encroachment of other professions.


What advice would you give NYPTA members who are new to the profession? 


Firstly, I would say that they should give themselves time to find who they really are as a therapist.  It’s not until they are truly on their own that they will be able to feel where their niche is.  From my experience, being able to work where there are opportunities to work in various settings really helps you to find where you feel at home with your practice.  There was no straight line in going from acute care to MDT Certified to earning my PCS.  Know that who you think you are as a clinician may not be who you are 10, 15, 20 years later.  That’s OK, part of growing as a clinician is being able to evolve.


In terms of membership, I have been there, as a new/newer grad where you don’t see the value for the money—especially coming out of school with so many loans, etc.  My advice is to stick it out. Over time, your value for your money becomes very apparent, and being able to be part of the organization, such as the resources and the connections you make, is definitely worth it. 


What is a favorite tip you have that you could share with others in our industry?


Be an active participant in your profession.  Being active in APTA at any level is a great way to start.  Also being open to new opportunities that challenge you.  Be willing to’s the only way to grow.

What are you passionate about? 


Professionally—I am passionate about being a PT.  I really love doing what I do.  Especially with pediatrics, I am passionate about being an advocate for them.  For some, being in our small, rural area there are times when care giver support is lacking for any multitude of reasons or the caregivers don’t know where to turn.  Therefore the need for someone to advocate for their needs—whether its access to services, equipment, outside support systems—is a vital part of what we do.  I also love working in rural healthcare (although I'm pretty sure 20 years ago I wouldn’t have said the same thing).  Working in a rural setting has its own unique set of challenges, whether economical, access to resources, socio-economic challenges of our patients and community.  You have to be very resourceful and think outside of the box often.  Working in the same community for so long, which is also the same area in which I grew up, has been very rewarding to me. 


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


I have two children: one tween and one teen.  The teen daughter wanted to make sure to include that I am bossy—but I just thought that was a given! My fall back career choice was to be a music teacher.  Thanks to my son, I am very familiar with the DC and Marvel universes and am fairly well versed in them.  Because of my late mother, I am and always will be a Notre Dame Football fan.  And my favorite place to be is on a beach, preferably in Southern Maine.


What is your favorite app or social media outlet?


Social media is Instagram, though I follow more than I post.  Favorite app is a toss-up depending on the day—Sirius XM, Kindle, or Netflix.


What is your guilty pleasure?


I’ve recently started allowing myself to actually sit and binge watch shows on Netflix or Amazon Prime.



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