INDEPENDENT SINCE 2015.
Meredith Castin, PT, DPT - an ITA Member - shares her amazing journey to independence which started when she realized that traditional patient care was not her path. She was able to take her skills and knowledge as a therapist and combine it with her background in graphic design to successfully launch her own business, The NonClinical PT, to help other therapists succeed in nonclinical healthcare roles. Here is her story.
Where Did You Go To School & When Did You Graduate?
University of St. Augustine, San Diego Campus - April, 2010
When and why did you decide to go “independent”?
I've always had a thirst for freedom and independence, so full-time clinical work always felt constraining. I decided to go into a PRN position about three years into my career, and then kept working in flexible clinical roles for another two years. Luckily, I am blessed with a husband whose job affords great benefits, so I didn't have to worry about healthcare. I'm not sure I would have had the confidence to make that move, otherwise, to be honest. PRN roles pay more than full-time ones, so my pay only took a slight cut and I worked far fewer hours! I was hooked on the freedom from that point forward!
One of the main reasons I went PRN and then non-clinical was the flexibility to see my family more.
Tell us about what you're doing now.
I eventually made the switch from clinical to non-clinical work when I took a PRN rehab liaison role. Between that job and launching my first website (for new grad physical therapists), I found that I vastly preferred non-clinical work to clinical work. So, I leaned into that life and never looked back! These days, I run a website called The NonClinical PT, which helps PT, OT, and SLP professionals learn more about non-clinical job opportunities. I also am a freelance content editor for OT Potential and write one article per month for WebPT.
What are your hopes/plans/dreams for the future?
I'm a bit embarrassed to admit this, but I hope to retire young and move closer to my family so I can see my parents more as they get older. One of the main reasons I went PRN and then non-clinical was the flexibility to see my family more. But, with it being a flight + long drive to see them each time, I still don't get home as often as I'd like. So, my next step is to try to retire (or simply work less) and/or move closer so I can see them more :) As far as business goals go, I hope to continue with my mission of helping rehab professionals feel less alone—and more supported and confident—if/when they decide to leave direct patient care.
What tips do you have for others looking to go Independent?
It's always wise to have multiple income streams. There is some risk that comes from going independent, so if you can pick up some consistent freelance writing, consulting, blogging or even something totally unrelated to healthcare, it can take some of the uncertainty out of this new lifestyle you're exploring! If nothing else, one door closes and another opens, so, even if you find you don't like the lifestyle of being an independent contractor, you can always go back to full-time!