Lauren Riley

Ever wonder what the future of physical therapy looks like? Look no further than a group of dedicated, outspoken DPT students who are vocal about all sorts of PT-related issues on social media, helping to spark a healthy dialogue about the current state of the profession and the direction it’s likely to take in the years to come. I am lucky enough to get paid for lurking on monitoring our social media accounts, so I tend to come across Twitter chats about physical therapy. Judging by the depth of dialogue under the #DPTstudent hashtag and the positive response these discussions elicit from experienced PTs like Ann Wendel (who guest blogged about this topic in April), the future of our profession looks bright. Even the APTA recently took notice of DPT students making noise in the Twitterverse, helping to spread the word about these weekly chats with a timely reminder tweet.

A couple of weeks ago I had a chance to catch up with one of these DPT students for a brief phone conversation. Lauren Riley (@LaurenrSPT) is the founder of the #DPTstudent Twitter chat, and she was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule (finals time) to tell me more about herself, the Twitter chat she started, and what she hopes to accomplish with the chat and her PT career.

A fellow East Coaster, Lauren moved from Philly to Washington for undergrad and stayed in the Capital to work as an accountant. So, how does an accountant become interested in physical therapy and inspired to attend graduate school to earn a degree in this challenging field? The same way a collegiate basketball player gets into PT and eventually launches an EMR company for physical therapists—a knee injury. Nothing will get you excited about being a PT like seeing first-hand the difference physical therapy makes in people’s lives. And so, with D.C. in her rear view, Lauren headed west to Regis University to begin the first year of her DPT program.

Year one was not easy, but she loved the experience. In addition to completing her assignments for school, Lauren wanted to make sure she got involved outside of the classroom. She wanted to create professional networking opportunities for herself and her classmates early into their graduate school careers. Lauren had experience writing for social media, having developed a personal blog in D.C. to document her triathlon achievements. When she realized there were active students and PTs on Twitter and Facebook, Lauren decided to find a way to bring them together and put her prior social media experience to work by launching an online conversation for DPT students specifically.

That’s how the #DPTstudent Twitter Chat was born. The topics are genuinely interesting and relevant to students and practicing therapists alike, and Lauren does an excellent job as moderator with well prepared questions and prompts to keep the conversation flowing smoothly. Plus, it’s truly a great networking opportunity for the participants, who get a chance to interact with classmates, with other DPT students from all around the country, and maybe most importantly, with practicing physical therapists, who offer advice, mentorship, and professional guidance. On any given night, students may hear about clinical issues related to acute care from a practicing therapist like Ben Fung (@DrBenFung), or they may get a perspective on marketing and business development from Jerry Durham (@Jerry_DurhamPT), another practicing therapist and Twitter regular who participates in the chats.

Unpredictable and often changing schedules have made it a little challenging, but the number of participants continues to grow and the #DPTstudent hashtag keeps gaining momentum. Lauren would (of course) love to see this trend continue, and she hopes more and more students, professors, and PTs participate. In fact, that is one of her biggest pieces of advice for first-year DPT students—find ways to get involved outside of your studies. Classwork obviously comes first. However, staying current on the latest happenings in your industry and networking with people who may be in the position to help you advance your career are equally important.

With that in mind, I encourage you to check out the #DPTstudent chats on Twitter every Wednesday at 9:00 PM EST (tweet this!). For transcripts of previous chats, check out PT Think Tank. And follow @LaurenrSPT so you’ll know the topic ahead of time and can come prepared with insightful and entertaining tweets. As for me, I’ll continue to lurk on monitor our Twitter feed for all things physical therapy related and will definitely fill you in on the cool stuff I come across.

The 2018 Rehab Therapy Salary Guide - Regular BannerThe 2018 Rehab Therapy Salary Guide - Small Banner
  • Common Questions from our Physical Therapy Website Optimization Webinar Image

    articleOct 18, 2017 | 21 min. read

    Common Questions from our Physical Therapy Website Optimization Webinar

    On October 17, 2017, WebPT’s own Charlotte Bohnett and Shawn McKee hosted a webinar detailing how rehab therapy practices can make themselves findable—and, more importantly, discoverable—online. During the presentation, they covered everything from blogging and soliciting reviews to keywording and optimizing online profiles. It was a lot of juicy information—and we received a lot of juicy questions from our audience. We’ve compiled the most common ones—and their answers—in the FAQ below. Reviews Can I send patients a …

  • How to Get More New Patients Without Spending a Dime Image

    articleAug 18, 2017 | 6 min. read

    How to Get More New Patients Without Spending a Dime

    When you’re trying to get more of the stuff you need, sometimes all you have to do is ask . But shy of affecting a Dickensian persona and approaching referral sources with your hat in hand, you may not know what sort of strategy you should employ to get more patients into your clinic. The fact is, word-of-mouth advertising has been proven to boost marketing effectiveness by up to 54%. The message is clear: word-of-mouth is must …

  • 6 Digital Marketing Mistakes that Will Destroy Your Practice Image

    articleJul 3, 2017 | 9 min. read

    6 Digital Marketing Mistakes that Will Destroy Your Practice

    In this day and age, it’s nearly impossible to run a successful business without using some form of digital marketing. And yet, as of 2017 nearly a third of small business owners admit to not having a company website. If you’re shocked by that statistic, it’s for good reason. With more and more people turning to the web to find providers and medical advice, rehab therapy practices can’t afford not to hop on the digital marketing bandwagon. …

  • articleMay 17, 2012 | 3 min. read

    #solvept and #socialortho

    This post was contributed by  Ann Wendel , PT.  Ann is the owner of  PranaPT , a member of WebPT and active on social media. Thanks to Ann for being a resource and thought leader! I wanted to take a moment to make everyone aware of some great interactions that are happening on Twitter, where healthcare providers are discussing issues pertinent to the current and future state of care. (If you aren’t on Twitter, go register right now!) The …

  • articleJun 19, 2012 | 4 min. read

    #Solve PT: Do You Stand for Something?

    Today’s post comes from WebPT copywriters Charlotte Bohnett and Erica Cohen as well as WebPT co-founder Heidi Jannenga, PT, MPT, ATC/L. Have you been following #SolvePT? Lots of participation, awareness, and most importantly, action. It’s grown from a Twitter conversation to an entire movement, and we wholeheartedly support the cause. So, we’d like to dedicate today’s blog post to the kickass therapists who have led, joined, and gotten involved to build the physical therapy brand and increase …

  • articleJul 9, 2013 | 9 min. read

    Four Critical Rebranding Concepts

    #BrandPT . If you're not part of this discussion, you should be—regardless of whether you’re a physical therapist, occupational therapist, another allied health rehab therapy professional, personal trainer, physician, dentist, or nurse. Why? Because the #BrandPT Twitter discussion revolves around empowering an important segment of the healthcare industry—physical therapists—and thus empowers the entire industry as a whole.   However, this post really isn't about #BrandPT specifically. It has to do with the overall mission to rebrand the …

  • How to Take Over the Internet: 5 Simple Strategies to Win More Patients Image

    webinarFeb 27, 2015

    How to Take Over the Internet: 5 Simple Strategies to Win More Patients

    Nowadays, everyone is looking for a way to “go viral” online. But with all that go-big-or-go-home hype, it’s easy to get intimidated—and that leaves many small business owners wondering if they have the time, resources, or wherewithal to even make a dent in the Internet, let alone break it.  Don’t get stuck in the muck and mire of cliché goals; you don’t have to hit a million views to make a big impact online. As a private …

  • articleJun 6, 2013 | 3 min. read

    Enlisting Brand Evangelists for Your Practice and the Profession

    One of the most frequently discussed topics in the realm of rehab therapy (PT, OT, and SLP) is brand awareness. When the general public thinks “back pain,” they most commonly think “chiropractor” for the solution. How can we achieve such instant associations in the general public for physical therapy? We need to educate the masses on what PT is and how it benefits everyone. Your patients can help with this endeavor. How? Through brand evangelism. In The …

  • articleSep 12, 2012 | 3 min. read

    Beyond the Standard: Social Media Tips for Marketing the PT Profession, Part 2

    Today’s blog post comes from WebPT copywriters Charlotte Bohnett and Erica Cohen. Like us! Follow us! Nowadays most clinics have a Facebook and/or a Twitter. With everyone vying for customers’ attention on their newsfeeds, how do you stand out? How do you make your posts, tweets, and page more than just standard business promotion? Let’s talk about impact, emotion, and education. This week, we’re discussing four ways to use social media beyond the standard and instead, use …

Achieve greatness in practice with the ultimate EMR for PTs, OTs, and SLPs.