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BCC Pins 2023 Class of Physical Therapist Assistants
By Sabrina Damms, iBerkshires Staff
05:51PM / Thursday, May 25, 2023
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BCC's physical therapy assistant program graduated eight students on Wednesday.

See more photos here.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The eight graduates of Berkshire Community College's physical therapy assistant program were told there was more meaning behind their acronym of "PTA ."
Vice President of Academic Affairs Laurie Gordy riffed off the acronym as way to provide the graduates advice to take with them.
P is for patience, she said, because people will be coming to them vulnerable and in a lot of pain, and may respond to treatment one day and then differently the next. So to be effective, place the patient at the center of what you do, she said. 
Secondly, build trust, Gordy said, not only with patients to assist in the process of healing but also with co-workers. 
"The more they trust you the more invested they will be in the healing process," she said. 
And finally, A for adaptability, because in this field you have to think on your feet, Gordy continued, so adjust and be creative when it comes to problem solving.
The importance of patient care echoed throughout each of the speakers' speeches at Wednesday night's pinning ceremony in the college's Connector Space.
Bonnie Curtiss, a physical therapist in the acute rehabilitation department of Berkshire Medical Center, was the guest speaker. 
Curtiss has been a physical therapist for 33 years said a lot has changed except for one thing -- her passion to do her best and help those in need.
She was chosen to speak because she exemplifies the values of caring, compassion, and lifelong learning and excellence needed in the profession, PTA Program Coordinator Michele Darroch said. 
"She is a clinical leader in the rehab unit and a neurodevelopmental therapist. She's been an instructor to many of our own students, and has been described as an excellent leader, a role model, and a mentor," Darroch said.
Curtiss also echoed the importance of being patient-care focused by adding that the graduates will come across patients who will try their patience. 
"You will find most patients who will touch your heart and they will stay with you your entire career. You will also experience difficult patients, those who try your patience and challenge you," she said. "You need to build trust with your patients and being able to provide the rationale that you've learned for your intervention will go a long way."
Although this career can be trying at times it is also rewarding, she said. 
"There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a patient after a stroke take steps again, or a patient after a spinal cord injury be able to transfer himself to a wheelchair and regain their mobility," Curtiss said. 
"You will experience these joys as a new practitioner. I am always in awe of what the human body and spirit can accomplish when you give them the opportunity to heal."
She reminded the graduates to have empathy and embrace their patients' differences whether it's cultural or religious because they always find a way to teach you. 
The graduates concluded the ceremony by honoring Darroch, who is retiring this year, with a slideshow presentation. 
"She has a neverending commitment to the success of her students and every single one of us are proof of that," graduate Crystal Townsend said. 
Hannah M. Brennan
James C. Callaway
Molly M. Coughlan
Shelby L. Glasier
Crystal Y. Harrington
Dawn M. Kent
Crystal L. Townsend
Teri A. Woodland
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