Alumni Perspective - A Conversation with Joe McMahon

Joe McMahon, PTA, B.S., (‘16) is always looking to the next phase of his career. He has been setting and surpassing professional goals since his time in the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program at Clarkson College, and he continues to do so as a soon-to-be graduate of the Master’s degree in Health Care Administration program option. He works as a Mako Product Specialist, specializing in total joint surgery robotics at Stryker Orthopaedic in Omaha, Neb. and is taking steps to develop his professional skills and keep up with the ever-changing health care field.  

While you were enrolled at Clarkson College, did you set any professional goals for yourself?  

Absolutely! The exposure I received immediately to statewide programs through NPTA [Nebraska Physical Therapy Association] provided me with more of an idea of where I saw myself going. I always knew that I would pursue a master’s degree, and the opportunity through the NPTA conference allowed me to pursue leadership positions early on.  

What programs, individuals or organizations at the College helped you accomplish these professional goals? 

I was elected Treasurer of the student segment of the NPTA, served as class President for my PTA class, and then held the role of Vice President of the Student Government Association for the College. Any time that you are able to hold these types of roles, it allows you to develop communication and leadership qualities. 

Since entering the workforce, have your professional goals changed? 

They have. I am no longer working in physical therapy but am still involved in the health care field, applying all the education that I have received. I believe that my education has made me become a more well-rounded individual and that my experiences have made me marketable to the company I currently work for.  

What steps are you taking to ensure that you continue to meet your professional goals? 

I am seven hours away from completing my master’s degree, and then I continue to look into literature pertaining to how my industry is changing. With how quickly health care is evolving, it will be important to be ahead of the curve as much as possible. 

Looking forward, what are your next professional goals? Where do you see yourself in five, or ten years? 

At this moment I am taking everything in stride. Of course, I would like to see myself in a leadership position, but since my role is still relatively new, there will be room for growth into new leadership positions. 

Why do you feel it is important to set professionals goals for yourself? How do they help you become a better health care provider? 

Goals help you establish a standard for yourself, and if you are with the right company, then your own standards should reflect those of the company. In many cases, your standards should be higher than that of the company. When you do establish those high standards and demonstrate integrity for the company and your patients, your leadership traits can serve as a model for those that you work with or any of the students that may come your way.