Hi! I’m Vivian Chau, and I’ve been a physical therapist working at Milestone Therapy since July 2020. Yep – I actually found a job during the pandemic! I learned about Milestone before I even considered becoming a pediatric therapy specialist during my studies. To be clear, I didn’t even know what physical therapy for babies would even look like. Little did I know how that would change in such a short period of time.
As stated above, I completed my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) this past year. As a student, I always heard upperclassmen promote opportunities to volunteer at Milestone’s Respite Night. If you weren’t aware, Respite Night was a pre-pandemic Milestone program that gave families a night to go kick around while their little ones were entertained by student therapists and Milestone staff for two hours. For no good reason I never attended one as a student, but I’ve always had a good impression of the company based on all the positive reviews from my classmates.
Fast forward one year, and I was given a taste of pediatric physical therapy in the Early Intervention (EI) setting on one of my shadow days as a student. I absolutely loved it. Then it was time to choose where I wanted to spend my first three-month clinical rotation. Guess who was at the top of my wish list?
(Hint: I work for that very company now!)
During my internship with Milestone, specifically in EI, the passion Milestone employees had for what they did truly astonished me. If you’re a physical therapist, you may be familiar with the core values outlined by the American Physical Therapy Association:
My clinical instructors never explicitly verbalized this list over the three months I spent with them.
They did one better.
They showed me what it looked like in practice, day in and day out. It didn’t just materialize in the way they interacted with families and treated patients. It also showed in the way they supported my learning as a student.
I had the opportunity to shadow other Milestone pediatric therapy specialists as a student. That’s when I realized that everyone there, not just my instructors, operated at a higher standard. One time, I emailed a few quick questions to a board certified behavioral analyst (BCBA) I had shadowed. I expected a brief response to my questions. Instead, I received detailed explanations to each question with links to a variety of resources. At one point, one of my clinical instructors told me, “Milestone only hires awesome therapists.” Honestly, it didn’t come as a surprise.
And I immediately wanted to be one of them.
During the final stretch at UIC, Drew Haverstock, owner of Milestone Therapy, guest lectured in our business class. I can’t remember the slides he presented on (sorry, Drew!), but I had bigger takeaways from his short time there.
For one, he made it clear that he cared about his staff as much as he cared about his clients. This point is basically Milestone’s mission statement. But what I appreciated most was when he explained that he encouraged staff to speak up. He wanted his staff to speak up when they had ideas for improvement or concerns. That showed me that Drew, and by extension Milestone, valued transparency and growth. When I contemplated who I wanted to work for, this set Milestone apart by a landslide and working at Milestone was a no-brainer. Who wouldn’t want an employer who genuinely had the employees’ best interest in mind?
So is it true?
Now that I am officially working at Milestone, I can attest that these experiences were not by chance nor mere facades. As a new employee, I had a few questions. Everyone was as helpful and kind as when I was a student. The passion our therapists had to help kiddos and their families was also very much present.
I know I made it this far without mentioning it, but the COVID-19 pandemic imposed challenges too great to ignore. Some of us couldn’t build a full caseload due to state-issued limitations. During this wild ride, Milestone found ways to support their pediatric therapy specialists. One way, for example, was offering opportunities in project work, and things like this blog were a way for me to express my therapeutic identity through something other than direct treatment. Actions like this during such a hard time spoke volumes to how much Milestone cares about its employees. And as I’m starting my second year at the company, I’m grateful that I had this amazing, creative, and supportive work environment to start my career.
If you are looking for a different perspective on what working at Milestone is like, you can find Sophia’s experience in our blog, too! Interested in joining the team and having the same experience I described? Contact us! Who knows, I might be one of the folks you get to shadow along the way. In fact, I’d welcome it.
Written by Vivian Chau, PT, DPT