When I was in graduate school for physical therapy, I spent at least 8 hours per day in class, and after all that, I’d return home to study or practice what we learned that day. When I completed my degree, I made a vow to myself that I would never spend time outside of work to study or take any more classes.
As I started my first job as a physical therapist, I discovered something – despite receiving an excellent education (4 years of undergraduate plus 3 years of graduate school), I really only had a general knowledge. It became clear that in order to become a better clinician and therapist, continuing education courses would be absolutely necessary. So there I was, only out of school for 4 months and I had already signed up for a 3-day sports medicine conference. Despite my vow to avoid more school at all costs, I loved it! The material was so interesting, I was able to apply what I learned right away.
After that, I began seeking out courses on different types of manual therapy. I now average 3-4 courses per year, which means spending 2-3 days per course learning and usually giving up weekends. When I took my first pelvic floor class, I remember being incredibly nervous because I had never had an internal examination, let alone by my peers. This class was the best class I had ever taken, and I knew right away that I had found what I want to specialize in. Since then, I have taken 3 classes with specific focus on women’s health and pelvic floor dysfunction.
So what is the WCS?
The WCS is the Women’s Health Specialty Certification examination. There are other specializations, including OCS (orthopedic), NCS (neurological), SCS (sports), and more. You will usually see these letters written after a physical therapists name. What this means is that aside from becoming a doctor of PT, your therapist has also gone above and beyond to acquire an additional specialization.
To apply for the WCS, you need at least 2,000 hours of direct patient care in your chosen area. In addition, you will write a case study which takes a long time, and includes lots of research to support your assessment and treatment of a specific patient case. Once you are approved, your comprehensive exam will be scheduled for February/March.
Here at 5 Point PT, Stacey worked hard to acquire her WCS and encouraged myself, Erica, and Kara to apply. So we did! We all got approved, and now it’s time to once more study hard and pass the test. My vow to never study again has been broken (over and over), but I’m fine with that. I know that this is worth it for myself and for our patients.