Recent PT graduate headed to Alaska

Published 12:23 am Thursday, January 10, 2019

Andalusia High School alumnus Mayur Patel’s love for people led him to earn his doctorate in physical therapy from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences.

“I really love getting to know my patients and building a relationship with them,” Patel said. “Physical therapy is one of the professions where you get to spend a lot of time with the patient. You get the chance to build that relationship and I just love to see my patients progress and see them getting better and being there when they see that.”

It wasn’t an easy path for Patel, because he chose to enroll in an accelerated program at the University of St. Augustine.

“My program was an accelerated program,” Patel said. “So instead of going through the traditional three years of PT school, I did it in two years and four months. Because of that, some semesters we were taking 22 credit hours. So having so much information thrown at you was the hardest part. We had exams and practicals every other week, so I had a lot going on. Having to study a lot of information was very challenging.”

Patel chose the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences because of its prestigious background in orthopedic manual therapy.

“My school is very well known in the U.S. for orthopedic manual therapy,” Patel said. “The person who started our school actually introduced orthopedic manual therapy to the U.S. So chose St. Augustine’s specifically for that reason.”

He has traveled all over the nation for his education including Chicago, Colorado and Arizona, but he said that Arizona was his favorite location.

“For school we are required to go to three places,” Patel said. “That way we can work in different settings and see what we like and see what we want to go into. In Phoenix, Arizona, I was able to do more outpatient and clinical learning, so I enjoyed it the most. I saw a lot of high school athletes and a lot of spine-related, orthopedic conditions. Being there kind of pushed me towards wanting to do outpatient spine related rehab.”

The traveling won’t stop for Patel, because he accepted a job in Alaska.

“The original plan was to do travel therapy,” Patel said. “Where I would travel around on a three month contract and I would be able to go where ever I wanted to. That was the original plan, but my school had a job fair and the guy who owns the clinic in Alaska actually graduated from my school so he was there recruiting. I didn’t think too much of it at first, but then I interviewed for the job and got it. The guy actually specializes a lot in spine rehab so that is kind of what pushed me towards it.”

Patel said that he is looking forward to learning more about orthopedic spine rehab the most while he is in Alaska.

“I’m really excited about learning more about spine rehab,” Patel said. “But I am also really excited to experience the culture over there and learning as much as I can, not only in rehab, but everything around it.”

Throughout his entire journey, he said that his family and friends have been his backbone.

“My brother, parents and sister have been the biggest support system for me,” Patel said. “I call them every day. They know what I’ve been through in this program and all of the struggles, so they have been there to kind of held me get through.”

He said that he met some of his best friends while in the DPT school, because they all went through the same struggles.

“I met people from all over,” Patel said. “And they have become some of my best friends. Everybody in this program is going through the same exact thing, so everybody has the same goal. Having like minded people really helped me in the long run.”

Patel graduated from Andalusia High School in 2012, and went on to graduate from the University of Alabama.

Though he hasn’t lived in Andalusia for a couple of years, he said that he still it.

“I really miss that small town vibe,” Patel said. “I mean knowing everybody and being in a super relaxed environment. Looking back, I’ve realized that I’ve been in so many crazy cities and big cities, so I miss the slow pace of Andalusia.”

Patel takes his board exams in three weeks, and plans to move to Alaska in March.