Jennifer Kowalczyk, PT, hatched the idea of being a neurologic PT after seeing the movie Regarding Henry (legitimate career guidance to a high school freshman). After volunteering on the brain injury unit at Magee Rehab in Philadelphia, she quickly solidified her decision to pursue a career in Physical Therapy. Jen attended Northeastern
University in Boston, Massachusetts, where she earned her B.S. in Rehabilitation Science (2004) and M.S. in Physical Therapy (2005). Her desire to experience PT practice around the country took her as a student to practice settings in Boston, New Orleans, and her home state of New Jersey. As a new grad, she completed a very brief stint of practice in the Philadelphia vicinity before relocating to Austin, Texas, on a whim and a mother’s promise that she could meet a cowboy there. In central Texas, she has spent the majority of her seven years of practice in the in-patient rehabilitation setting while dabbling in acute and long-term acute care of complex medical populations and generalist home health practice—her first love is truly neurologic rehab. Throughout her practice, she has received the designations of Neuro-Developmental Treatment Certified for Adults with Hemiplegia, AACBIS Certified Brain Injury Specialist, and APTA Credentialed Clinical Instructor.
Jen’s passion for being a physical therapist remains strong, but finding the balance between life and work became a daunting task. A few years ago, a fellow PT who had experienced life as a PT traveler matter-of-factly told Jen, “It would be perfect for you, and you’d be great at it.” It was true that Jen’s love of travel was built into her soul at an early age. From U.S. vacations to international adventures to serial relocating, it seemed she had gypsy soul. But at the time, it felt like too big of a “risk”. When she wanted to recalibrate the life/work balance without taking the plunge into travel PT Jen filled a “full-time” schedule floating between several facilities PRN. Her flexible schedule as a habitual PRN Physical Therapist gave her the experience to know she needed the middle ground between the heavy commitment of full-time placement and the freedom of PRN work. That happy medium was Travel PT.
In March of 2012, Jen embarked on a solo adventure across the southwest U.S., driving a motor home, towing her car, wrangling two oversized puppies, and beginning her first travel assignment in an acute care setting in Tucson, Arizona. She liked it so much that she has put adventuring onward to Colorado on the back burner to stay in the desert a while longer.
Apart from physical therapy and travel, this thirty-something enjoys hiking, camping, happy hour, corny jokes, tennis, live music, snapping photos, writing, and quality time with her cold-nosed travel companions, Fenway and Sienna.
You can find out more about Jen and her travels on her own blog at Working On Wanderlust