Ep. 174 – Pediatric Oncology: Putting the FUN back in Functional Treatments

Ep. 174: Pediatric Oncology: Putting the FUN back in Functional Treatments with special guest Dr. Jen Bernstein, PT.  TheOncoPT Podcast.  Headshot of Dr. Jen Bernstein, PT.  Background image of brown-haired woman with white mug in hands, sitting behind silver microphone.

We’re talking to Dr. Jen Bernstein, PT about pediatric oncology care and how she discovered her passion for this population. She was aware she had to take some risks and try new things and fell in love with working with children. She enjoys that she is able to make functional physical therapy care fun again. 

One thing she learned while working in pediatrics is sometimes you just have to put yourself out there. If Dr. Bernstein had simply taken the outpatient PT role that was offered to her, she would have never been exposed to oncology. This would have never unlocked her passion and love for working in pediatric oncology. 

“For anyone who doubts themselves or is scared to try something new, don’t hesitate, even if it’s scary”.

Dr. Jen Bernstein, PT

Dr. Bernstein loves turning something that is hard for her patients into something fun for them. Physical therapy is made more enjoyable by her ability to take the functional aspects and make it fun by adding things the children enjoy, like riding bikes and playing. Connecting and improving impairments while keeping children motivated takes a special type of person. Creativity and innovative thinking are required. 

The patients do not have a choice whether to be there or not. The reason they’re there is that they’re sick, and we have the ability to make it a little more fun, and their inpatient stay a little bit better. It’s okay if that means being silly, running with a theme day that they come up with, or going out and buying ingredients to make a cake. This improves their experience, and that is what it is all about. You have the opportunity to use your creative skills in order to make fun and functional.

About Dr. Jen Bernstein, PT

In 2013, Jen graduated with her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Northeastern University in Boston and moved 640 miles away from her home in New York to pursue her dream of becoming an acute care pediatric physical therapist. In the past eight years, she’s built a career and found her true passion, working with pediatric oncology patients in the inpatient setting. Jen has been instrumental in developing oncology and bone marrow transplant programs within her acute care institution. 

She completed her oncology board certification in 2020 as a result of her love for this patient population. She is eager to take advantage of the opportunities within the APTA Oncology section, such as peer mentoring and item writing. 

During her free time, Jen loves to travel, spend time with family and friends, and she is training for her second half marathon. One of her favorite things truly is, you know, working in an acute care setting.

Connect with Jen on Instagram

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