Kristen Benya, PT, DPT, was recently promoted to Senior Physical Therapist in the Outpatient Rehabilitation Services Department. Benya earned her bachelor of science degree in Kinesiology from UMass Amherst and her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Northeastern University. She began her career at BWFH as a co-op student in 2011 while she was studying at Northeastern University. She then worked as a per diem aide while completing her studies. She has been a full-time Physical Therapist since graduating in 2013.
In two short years, Benya worked hard to prove her skills as a Physical Therapist, completing the steps to become a Senior Physical Therapist. To earn her new title, she was required to earn points in three sections of career development: professional development, clinical education and research and projects and committees. She then presented her portfolio of work to Career Ladder Committee and her director for review.
As a Senior Physical Therapist Benya says she is expected to continue her personal continuing education as well as remain a clinical instructor to students from the surrounding schools. “I will also continue my work in the various clinics and on personal projects to help create a robust department that continues to provide the highest level of patient care,” she says.
One of those projects is her work with Dr. Wolfgang Fitz and orthopaedic surgery patients. “I began working in the total joint clinic in the spring of 2016. A colleague and I established a care coordination initiative to create a pre- and post-op physical therapy presence with Dr. Fitz’s patients who undergo total knee replacements,” she says. “We were embedded in the orthopaedic department during his clinic hours, with our role consisting of taking pre-operative objective measurements (range of motion, strength, balance, etc.) and issuing the patient a specialized home exercise routine to address any major musculoskeletal limitation prior to surgery. After surgery, the patient was then re-assessed at their two-month follow-up, looking at the same measures we did initially. In the future, there is the potential for a research study to determine the impact of comprehensive pre-operative exercise routines on post-operative patient outcomes.”
Another of those projects is her work with the adult hemophilia clinic, which recently moved to BWFH from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “The clinic meets once per week for patients to be seen for their annual comprehensive visit where they are evaluated by a comprehensive clinical team (Hematologist, Nurse Practitioner, Social Worker and Physical Therapist),” explains Benya. “My role in the clinic is to establish baseline strength and mobility measures and address any musculoskeletal issues or concerns the patient may have. Education on the negative effects of chronic joint or muscle bleeds on their overall wellbeing is a large part of my time spent with the patients. I occasionally see these patients in my department for a full course of therapy when necessary.”
Jean Flanagan Jay, PT, DPT, CLT, Director of Rehabilitation Services, points to Benya and her work as a shining example of a physical therapist who is new to her career but motivated to make a difference. “I am so impressed with how much Kristen has accomplished in such a short time,” she says. “She is an integral part of our team and she more than earned her new title.”