After transitioning from a certified nurse assistant (CNA) to an office manager in 2016, Kristina Quiles grew tired of the office setting. Looking to get back into patient care, she decided to pursue a career in physical therapy and researched local programs.
Concorde Career College, San Antonio’s Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA) program length, which was much faster to complete than the other two options in her area, immediately caught Kristina’s interest and was the driving force behind her decision to apply.
“Concorde’s San Antonio campus had great reviews for their PTA program,” Kristina said. “I wanted to get back in the field as fast as possible with a solid education and this was the best option.”
Studying at Concorde
Kristina loved her time at Concorde but initially had a hard time balancing her course work while working full-time. Though she felt a little overwhelmed, Concorde faculty was there to help.
“Concorde does such a great job being flexible and allowing students to work while going to school,” Kristina said. “They went above and beyond, putting so many hours in to make sure I succeeded. They were great mentors and I still keep in touch with some of my teachers today.”
Kristina believes that her instructors and other Concorde staff were her best resources while she was completing her PTA program. She always felt comfortable reaching out for help and could tell that Concorde cared about each of its students.
Kristina enjoyed her time at Concorde so much that she wanted to continue her involvement even after she graduated in 2018. Post-graduation, Kristina joined Concorde-San Antonio’s Program Advisory Committee, where she and others provide input on how to improve program curriculum.
“I love being able to give back to my community,” she said. “I’m honored that I get to help future PTAs be successful in their program so they can change people’s lives like I get to.”
Practicing Physical Therapy Assisting
Today, Kristina works at University Hospital, a level one trauma center in San Antonio. As a PTA she wears many hats and treats a variety of patients including those with knee replacements and spinal injuries. Every day she helps people find their confidence and relearn movement they may have lost from injury or surgery.
“I get to help people walk again, stand again, regain their independence,” Kristina said. “I love every minute of my job.” Working during COVID-19 is bringing unexpected challenges. During the pandemic, many patients are unable to have visitors. This can be very hard on them, especially when they’re recovering without family to support them in-person.
“As a PTA, I get to be my patients’ support system,” Kristina said. “I get to be that motivator until they can see their family and friends again.” Seeing them continue their progress is her greatest reward.
She is thankful that Concorde helped her flourish as a PTA.
“They gave me every tool I needed to be successful,” she said. “From responsibility to specific industry knowledge, Concorde got me where I am today and I am thankful.”