News & Press: Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight on Tracey Hardes PTA

Friday, February 28, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Adilah Abdul-Matin
Share |




Tracy Hardes, PTA

University of Rochester 

Strong Memorial Hospital

Physical Therapist Assistant


March 2020


Tracy Hardes began her career as a physical therapist assistant in 2013 after working for many years in the professional sports and entertainment industry.  What stands out about Tracy is her passion for her patients. In her free time Tracy enjoys volunteering and being active in different sports like running, hiking, and tennis.



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

How Long have you been a member of NYPTA?

Since 2014 when I was a student at Genesee Community College.


What do you enjoy most about NYPTA?

 First and foremost, this is my profession.  I find it invaluable to support the field that provided me the opportunity to do what I love.  My second favorite thing I enjoy is the networking locally, regionally and nationally.  I have the utmost confidence that I have a true network of professionals to help guide who I am as a PTA.


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

When I was 19, I woke up as a normal teenager.  By mid-day I had sudden onset facial weakness which turned out to be Bell’s Palsy.  I wasn’t diagnosed for almost 10 days, despite going for immediate care.  I was located in a small town in the southern tier and my mom and I had to drive 4 hours each way to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for Physical Therapy because they were the closest facility specializing in facial nerve paralysis rehab.  I fell in love with the work they provided as well as other establishments that provided me rehab for sports related injuries.  I knew this was a field that made a difference.  My journey into Physical Therapy was extensive though and I didn’t pursue a degree as a PTA until 2013 after working in Professional Sports and Entertainment for 12 years.


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

I work in Acute care and have since I graduated.  So, the most rewarding part of my job is seeing the confidence build on patients' faces when they are moving toward discharge from the hospital.  I get to play a vital role in progressing our patients back to their new life.  I’m a Certified Stroke Rehabilitation Specialist so seeing a lot of people who have had a traumatic life change learn their new “normal” is really empowering. Most challenges we face relate to insurance company denials for appropriate levels of rehab.  We in therapy are passionate about our patients and getting them the maximum recovery.  We spend lots of time advocating for our patients and making sure we assist them not only during the session, but afterward to receive further care.


What is a typical day like for you?

Always busy, covering almost 5 miles of walking and stairs each day on the Oncology Units at the University of Rochester – Strong Memorial Hospital -- meeting a variety of new patients along the way. 


Who is one of your role models and why?

 This is a tough one to answer. I have several role models, however, if I keep it related to the field of physical therapy, I’d have to say my top role model is my professor from college, Dr. Christopher Caputi.  He, like many others, is so passionate about PT that he chose to drive the field forward through education. 


What’s the most important trend you see today?

  It’s no secret that our profession is seeing many changes related to reimbursement of services.  What’s interesting is that our profession has been here before.  I truly believe we will move past this “blip” by continuing to provide excellent care to our patients and advocating for our field since we truly know the value.


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

Get involved.  I recently had the pleasure of hearing our APTA President Dr. Sharon Dunn speak at CSM.  She said it best “APTA is the vehicle that drives our profession into the future. You can be in the driver’s seat, passenger seat, or you can be in the trunk and go wherever the car is going because someone else is driving.” There are several ways to be involved from a local, regional or national perspective.  If you aren’t sure how, send me an email –


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

 I was once told the phrase, “I don’t’ have time” should be changed to, “I don’t make time.”  That’s exactly it.  You have to make time.  I am a very busy person and I juggle multiple volunteer opportunities as well as enjoy time with family and friends.  The commitment it takes to make a difference can be within your allotted time.  You can’t run yourself ragged, but you can prioritize what’s important to you.  I have come to learn that a life of service to others is most important to me.



What else would you like your fellow NYPTA Members to know about you? (Feel free to tell us a little about yourself here, whatever you’re comfortable sharing – family, hobbies, pets, fun facts about you, etc.)


 I am probably one of the most eclectic people you’ll meet. I’m an eternal optimist who   shares positivity on social media every day. I love being active and enjoy a variety of different sports like running, hiking, tennis, and triathlon, but on the same note, I love to try new things like archery and curling. I’m from a small family and a small town but have been fortunate to live in Nashville, TN for 11 years and now Rochester, NY for 11 years so I can appreciate a larger city.  My top volunteer opportunities are with Team Red,White and Blue, a national organization designed to enhance the lives of America’s veterans, and directing a 5K run/walk in my hometown of Portville, NY that supports a scholarship in memory of my friend, Lt. Michael McGreevy Jr.  



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

Membership Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal