Travel Therapy October 15, 2021

By Cassandra Damascus

Meet Michelle Redline, PT, DPT and David Martin, PT, DPT, MS

Did you know AMN Healthcare has physical therapist clinicians on staff to support our travelers? As we celebrate physical therapy month, we are shining a light on our Clinical Managers, Michelle Redline, PT, DPT, and David Martin, PT, DPT, MS to share their journeys in PT; from their inspirations, impact, to how they support the traveling PTs here at AMN Healthcare.

Parallel Beginnings

One of the first questions we asked Michelle and David is why they decided to go into physical therapy. Their catalyst was the same — they both were injured playing sports in high school and needed to go to physical therapy for rehab and recovery. 

David explained, “From that experience on, I knew I wanted a career helping people reach their goals. Little did I know at the time that physical therapy has such a diverse patient population and work settings”. 

After Michelle’s decision to become a physical therapist, she entered an entry-level program at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology; another bachelor’s degree in Health Science; then continued to obtain her Doctor in Physical Therapy. David, on the other hand, applied to a five-year master’s program right out of high school, then continued his education to earn his Doctor of Physical Therapy.

Both Michelle and David worked in outpatient orthopedics. From there, their paths diverged. Michelle was a manager of a private practice clinic for ten years and was treated in acute care.

David explains his journey after orthopedics, “I worked up into a leadership role as a clinic director for a 10,000 sq ft fitness center and physical therapy clinic.  From there I spent a short time running a cash-based clinical practice and while launching that endeavor, I supplemented my income with part-time home health and a travel contract or two.  As I continued to evaluate where I wanted to practice, I saw an opportunity in home health and eventually pursued home care and travel.”

Michelle enjoyed and remained in private practice, while David pursued a travel assignment and immediately fell in love with the lifestyle.

David’s Traveling Journey

David was first attracted to traveling assignments as a path from significant debt to financial health and freedom. David describes his journey with his family in tow:

“My wife agreed [to traveling], so we took our lives on the road, including our three kids while adding a fourth during our travel time as a family.  We made the most of every opportunity and lived as frugally as possible in order to maximize our cash flow and pay off our outstanding debt.  During our time traveling, we certainly did not sacrifice adventure.  We traveled to remote Maine, the North Shore of Boston, Myrtle Beach, and some local contracts as well.  I really found a great work/life balance and excellent pay with leveraging my leadership/entrepreneurial experience and my experience in home health.  During this time, we made so many fantastic memories and lasting friendships to this day.”

Read about investing in your financial education in our article “3 Tips for Maximizing Your Career as a PT.”

PT Clinical Management

Currently, Michelle and David are clinical managers at AMN Healthcare, where they support our allied healthcare travelers.

When asked how clinical management compares with PT practice, Michelle described, “Clinical management role and my PT role really go hand in hand. I am a “connector” by trade and really thrive on relationships, whether that be with clinicians on assignment, patients I am treating, or employees I am supervising.” At AMN Healthcare, Michelle describes her role, “I am here to be a support, advocate, and resource for our clinicians.”

David explains his role at AMN Healthcare: “As a Senior Clinical Manager with AMN Healthcare, I have the distinct pleasure to work across all of our teams here to ensure that we are placing the right provider, with the right skill set, to the right position to meet critical patient care needs.  My day-to-day tasks involve supporting our allied healthcare providers on the front lines of patient care, assisting our recruitment teams with any concerns with the travel assignment, as well as assisting our facility partners who utilize our staff, and remediating any concerns or needs with our AMN healthcare providers.”

Michelle and David both agreed that the biggest difference between direct patient care versus clinical management is that the work is remote. Although there is a distance between them and the patients, by supporting the travelers, Michelle and David are still helping PT patients at an even wider scale.

David’s Most Memorable PT Patient

It takes a special, empathetic person to work in healthcare, and David is no exception. We asked him about his most memorable patient. He shared with us an inspirational story:

“I always tell the story of a patient I had while working my first travel contract in Maine.  He was an older WWII vet who spent over three years in a Japanese prisoner camp.  During that time, he was married, and his wife had not heard from him for over three years. Once the war ended and he was released, he was reunited with his wife who never gave up hope that he would return.  His wife was a patient in the memory care unit, and he visited daily, often sitting with her in silence and of no memory of the marriage and love they shared for decades.  I recall asking him about his relentless dedication to visit her daily and he would always say, ‘She stuck by me for three years not knowing if I would ever return, I will never leave her side.’”

“I know that does not have much to do with actual therapy, however, it shows how involved we often become in our patients' lives.  When this vet, had a TIA and found himself in the short term/rehab to home, I knew his goal would be to walk to the memory care unit for his daily visits and that became our primary goal for therapy.”

Want to learn more about some conditions that physical therapy can treat? Read our piece about “8 Conditions You Didn’t Know Could Be Treated by Physical Therapists."

Michelle’s Most Memorable Patients

Michelle describes some of her most memorable moments are when patients are pleasantly surprised. She says, “Patients who come into the clinic not thinking PT will help - their minds are already made up that this will be a waste of time and they are planning on coming maybe for a visit or two to satisfy their doctor then walk away. I give my absolute all to every single patient who comes through my door and those that see a difference in a session or two are some of my most committed patients and have become my best referral sources. It is a wonderful feeling when someone comes to me and says, ‘Terri sent me to you because he said you can fix anything, and you are the best.’”

About Michelle and David

Michelle, in her own words: I am a mama to two little boys (Carter, 4 and Greyson 2) and these rugrats take up most of my time when I am not working. My husband, Marcus, is also a Physical Therapist (my poor children hah- we tend to analyze everything). We live in rural Pennsylvania and have a crazy Weimaraner dog named Ruger. We love anything outdoors as well as staying physically fit- our newest adventure is CrossFit. We run Spartan races together and enjoy traveling, especially to the beach. I am a HUGE Buffalo Bills fan and have been since birth. 

David, in his own words: I am passionate about my Christian faith, my wife, and my amazing four kids.  We all enjoy the outdoors and recreational activities.  I have a passion for anything involving weightlifting/CrossFit, running, triathlons, and endurance events.  Any race with an obstacle is a good race to take part in.  I have completed two ultramarathons of 50 miles and 50K, and continue to train for other endurance events. Outside of fitness, I am an avid reader and geek out on leadership podcasts and books.  My wife and I have been married for 14 years and live in the country on an old dirt road, living our best life.  My wife has her bachelor's in Kinesiology/Fitness Development; coaches our high school and junior high school’s cross-country team; is a mentor to many within our church youth group; and has a passion for helping those in need. 

If you are interested in becoming a traveling PT with us, please visit here to learn more.