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Sydney- Agile PT Resident

Hi All! My name is Sydney Butler-Terry. I am a 2018 graduate of the USC doctor of physical therapy program and one of seven current Agile Physical Therapy orthopedic residents. While in school, I grew tremendously during my last clinical rotation thanks to the guidance of my clinical instructor. My clinical instructor was residency trained and she told me how helpful a residency was to develop her clinical reasoning skills. I witnessed how other physical therapists went to her for advice and trusted her opinion; I knew I wanted to be that type of physical therapist. So the search for residencies began.

When interviewing different residency programs (because please don’t forget you should interview them just as much as they interview you), one of the questions I prioritized was: “Where are your past residents now?” Of the people interviewing me from Agile, half were past residents. Additionally, they informed me that all seven previous residents had accepted offer letters and were staying with the company. This showed me that Agile, was a company the residents enjoyed working for and wanted to continue working for. More importantly, it meant that I would have colleagues that I could go to for guidance and advice, ones who had recently been in my shoes. Each of which could help guide me through the demands of a residency and offer advice on how to be most successful.

Cohort size was also an important factor in my decision. I enjoy having 6 other people to process through topics and to commiserate with during the stressful weeks. Each other resident had their own backgrounds and varying perspectives to bring to the table. We have Saturday sessions every other Saturday where guest speakers come in and we get to discuss different topics together. These topics vary from pain science to medical screening. I have learned as much from my cohort and these sessions, as I have from my mentors.

Residency is one of the best decisions I have ever made; it is incredibly rewarding but it does take a lot of work and there are stressful weeks. When looking at programs, don’t forget to interview the program too. Make sure they fit what you want. For me that was a large cohort (>4 residents) and an environment where past residents wanted to continue working. When considering residency, it is important to acknowledge the time commitment. Residency will push and challenge you. It is hard, but as I always say, “What doesn’t challenge you, doesn’t change you.”

I am now going into my final trimester. The end is near and that is mind blowing. So where do I go from here? By integrating everything I have learned this year into the treatment of my patients, I hope to change re-injury statistics. I truly believe that between good clinical reasoning, movement analysis skills and our ability to empower/motivate patients, we can promote longevity of health and wellness. I plan to continue to find and innovate ways to keep our patients healthier and more active longer.

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