From Population 2.2 Million to 6,211
Rehab Director Stephanie Gougenheim, PT graduated in May 2014 from Texas Women’s University in Houston. After graduation she was looking for opportunities outside the Houston area, where commutes could reach an hour or more. So when her husband was offered a job in Schuyler, Nebraska (population 6,200) she was willing to consider the move. Cut to Stephanie landing her first director-level job and a home in nearby Columbus, Nebraska (population 30,000).
Having lived in a large city like Houston, Stephanie has been surprised by the benefits of her practice in this small-town community. “Working in Schuyler, I’ve gotten to work with outpatients, inpatients, home health and swing patients,” She said. “And working in conjunction with speech and occupational therapies has made my practice even more well-rounded. The patient population and collaboration just makes you a better therapist.”
A graduate interested in becoming a more generalized therapist can find excellent options for skill growth outside of metro areas and focused specialty clinics. “Our department sees geriatric, pediatric, inpatient, outpatient, home health and work comp. It’s a good place to start your career and get a feel for what you like,” says Stephanie.
In the rural setting there are also usually opportunities for new program development. Stephanie has identified needs for both the LSVT BIG program for Parkinson’s patients and a focus on women’s health. It will be her responsibility, with support from RehabVisions’ home office, to both create and market these new programs to the community.
Coming out of school just two years ago, Stephanie is embracing opportunities in her new role as rehab director. She isn’t where she thought she’d be when she graduated, but the professional growth she has experienced these past four months has surprised her and certainly changed her perspective.