(Written by Jenica Paulsen, 4th Year Athletic Training Student)
Jan is a 1985 graduate of MSU (SMSU at the time) and now currently co-owns two rehabilitation clinics Eastern Michigan. Tri-Rehab is located in Canton and Deerfield, Michigan, and provides many services including: post-op and general rehabilitation, orthotic fittings, functional capacity evaluations, educational programs, and many more. She also played softball for (SMSU).
1.) Tell us a little bit about yourself. What led you to Michigan?
I graduated from (SMSU) in 1985 with a BS in Education (7-12 Physical Education teaching certificate) and emphasis in Athletic Training. At the time, the AT educators in the program were Gary Ward, Ivan Milton and Beth Deutsch and the program was still in its infancy, trying to get established. I was the first female athlete, student AT in the program and that was frowned upon at the time due to the demands of the AT program. My senior year, I didn’t participate in softball due to a shoulder injury and really concentrated on my academics (probably the first time in my college career). Gary and Ivan both encouraged me to pursue my Masters in respect to getting more AT experience and knowledge and they strongly recommended that I get my Masters in another area to compliment my athletic training credential.
I went to Eastern Michigan University and graduated with a MA in Administration and Educational Leadership in 1986. My graduate assistant stipend was $1800.00 for each semester and I quickly learned that l needed to finish school and get a real job. My first job at a hospital/sports medicine clinic in Dearborn, MI and my starting salary was $21,500. I thought I was rich at the time but am sad to say there are still those today accepting starting positions for that same amount.
2.) I have noticed that Tri-Rehab has been in business for 15 years. Can you give some of the current student’s some tips on running a long-standing, successful rehab clinic?
Tri-Rehab, Inc. was established in 1994 by Ann L. Berry and myself and it has been a roller coaster owning a business, especially in healthcare. The key for any athletic trainer, regardless of your employment setting is to demonstrate value for yourself and your skills. Why does a business need to employ you? You need to be flexible, willing to take on new projects and promote your profession and employment setting regardless of the setting.
My tips for running a successful business include hard work, determination, being thankful for your opportunities, staying up to date on trends and changes in healthcare and willing to sacrifice your time and energy for what you believe in.
3.) Between both Tri-Rehab locations, how many athletic trainers, physical therapists and occupational therapists do you employ?
Currently, there are two athletic trainers, two part time Physical Therapists’, one full time Physical Therapist Assistant, currently looking for an on call Occupational Therapist and one PT aide. Ann and I both recently returned to school and obtained our PTA credential from Kent State University – Ashtabula with their PTA-AT transition program. This credential should dramatically help us from a professional, personal and financial standpoint with the business and outside the business for other income possibilities.
4.) Can you explain to students how to get involved with NATA on a national level? For example, you have past experiences as a BOC examiner, were a panel participant in the 6th edition of the role delineation, and have spoken at many conferences.
My initial athletic training involvement started by volunteering and getting involved with my state athletic training organization in Michigan. I started with being on the high school athletic training committee and continued to stay involved by volunteering for other committees and running for office as they came forward. Networking with your fellow healthcare professionals is key!
My BOC involvement started as a BOC examiner for several years and has led to many other opportunities. By getting to know the BOC staff and leadership, volunteering for committees and running for available positions has allowed me to stay involved with the profession and meet a lot of great people. In my opinion, you can’t complain about things with the profession of athletic training if you are not willing to give some time and effort to help change things. Again, networking with your fellow healthcare professionals is key!
5.) How do you feel MSU helped you get to where you are today?
Motivation – I will never forget the day I was having a student AT evaluation with Gary and Ivan. They were reviewing my coaches and teacher evaluations and giving me their input on my performance as a student AT when Gary said to me that he didn’t think I would make it through the AT program. I asked why he felt that way and he said, I quote, “you are nothing more than a dumb jock and you are not applying yourself to this program”. That was definitely a motivational comment that has influenced my career choices and goals and probably shaped me to strive for much more.
Work ethic and professionalism – My program instructors and AT’s were leaders by example, demonstrating professionalism, working diligently to improve their educational program and providing quality care for their athletes. They were willing to get involved in local community activities, state AT organizations and at the national level for the profession of athletic training.
Having the opportunity to work with team physicians and understanding the importance of establishing relationships. The original AT evaluation class consisted of doing an evaluation in front of your peers, the AT’s and the team physicians for a grade. That was extremely stressful at the time and unheard of in the academic arena but if you could do an athletic evaluation in that particular setting, you were definitely prepared for the BOC exam.
The SMAT Spotlight is a series to highlight individuals, groups, clinical sites, and affiliations involved with the Sports Medicine Athletic Training Department at Missouri State University.