News & Press: Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight on Ralph E. Mitchell, PTA

Thursday, January 2, 2020   (2 Comments)
Posted by: Gloria Baker
Share |
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

 

 

 

Ralph E. Mitchell, PTA


LaGuardia Community College,

College Lab Technichian



 


 

 

January 2020

Ralph E. Mitchell, PTA  the NYPTA Member Spotlight for January 2020.  After high school, Ralph entered a 6 month training program at the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine operated by NYU Medical Center where he was certified as a Physical Therapist Aide. Two years into his position he was drafted and deployed to Vietnam as an infantry combat soldier.  After returning home from Vietnam he was fortunate that his position at Rusk was being held for his return.  Working at Rusk as a PTA for 15 years and then beyond in other medical facilities, Ralph learned how to individualize his skills and talents to assist the PTs in charge of him on how to work with him in creative ways.  Ralph enjoys being the bridge between students and professors and making connections with students; encouraging and mentoring them, using his 40+ years of hands on experience with diverse patients to bring to life the real-world application of their studies is the best reward.

 

 

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


How long have you been a member of the NYPTA?

 

Since 2006.

 

What do you enjoy most about NYPTA? 

 

I enjoy staying up to date with the lectures presented, and networking with the other professionals during the delegate assemblies.

 

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

 

I had the opportunity after high school, in 1968, to enter a program for 6 months of training to become a certified Physical Therapist Aide at the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine operated by NYU Medical Center.  I was certified and was working there 2 years when I was drafted into the Army and deployed to Vietnam as an infantry combat soldier.  While deployed, I honed my leadership skills.  I was one of the fortunate vets to come home to my job still waiting for me where incredible individual staff members mentored and encouraged me to pursue further studies at NYU to become a PTA. 

 

Working at Rusk as a PTA for 15 years and then beyond in other medical facilities, I learned how to individualize my skills and talents to assist the PTs in charge of me on how to work with me in creative ways.  I utilized my marital arts concepts to stimulate patient’s interest in their treatment protocols.  Having wonderful mentors that encouraged me to use my skills in areas rarely covered by PTAs, such as outpatient aquatic therapy, helped develop my confidence and skills as a team member.

 

These former years were invaluable to who I am today as a PTA and mentor to students in our program.

 

What’s the most rewarding part about your work and what are some challenges?

 

I enjoy being the bridge between students and professors.  Making connections with students; encouraging and mentoring them, using my 40+ years of hands on experience with diverse patients to bring to life the real-world application of their studies is the best reward. I try to drive home the importance of patient care--building trust through consistency, empathy and maintaining excitement about patient progress. It is a pleasure working with faculty who together are such a great team.  As a result of our highly professional program it can be a challenge for some students, who did not come prepared for the rigorous course-load and exams of our program.  It is rewarding to assist in their success.

 

What is a typical day like for you?

 

As a CLT it is my job to maintain the labs, equipment, help students review lecture formats, and assist professors in the labs by demonstrating disabilities and diagnosis with the students.


How do you make time to volunteer and be active in groups you’re involved with?

 

I volunteer representing LaGuardia Community College PTA program at various High School Career days; and give presentations at annual career days at LaGuardia C.C. on Saturdays.  The college allows time for these activities.  I also attend delegate assemblies and Brooklyn-Staten Island District symposiums on the corresponding weekends.

 

Who is one of your role models and why?

 

I have had several role models in my life, but the one who stands out the most was at the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine when I was a young trainee. This person mentored me with dedication and encouragement, and challenged me to pursue my profession and return to college.

 

What advice would you give NYPTA members who are new to the profession and want to make a difference? 

 

I would encourage developing communication between PT and PTA to foster a team approach.  It is important to create an open work environment where ideas are welcomed and developed, and where PTAs feel they are a valued part of the team. This encourages out-of-the-box thinking, and higher productivity. 

 

When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time?

 

My door is always open for students’ questions and concerns, particularly those students who may be at-risk, both academically and personally. A whole person approach is necessary to help students succeed in the program.

 

What’s the most important trend you see today?

 

What I see is that more PTAs are seen as viable team members with PT, OT, Nursing, Speech etc. Once a PTA. is brought into the environment, be it skilled nursing, outpatient or inpatient settings, the physical therapist’s chain of command should find the right setting for them to be a part of the team so they can contribute. This is a positive trend that will produce better outcomes both in the classroom and with real world patients.

 

   

If you know someone or are interested in being a Member Spotlight yourself contact Adilah Abdul-Matin at: aadbulmatin@nypta.org.

 

Comments...

Roslyn Sofer says...
Posted Thursday, January 2, 2020
Ralph, You and I worked together at Rusk Institute. I was there between 1964 and 1969. At that time, my name was Roslyn Wachtenheim (now Sofer) and we worked with Marggie Cramer. We worked on the first floor service. It is wonderful to know that you have become a PTA and are still enjoying working with patients and students.
Debra Engel says...
Posted Thursday, January 2, 2020
Thank you Ralph for all that you do. So happy to have you on our team.

 
Membership Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal