Interview with DPT: Jessie Gitow
- Interviews with Therapists
- By Jessie Gitow
- Published on September 2
Tell us who you are, your current job/title, and any fun facts!
Hi there! My name is Jessie Gitow, PT, DPT, and on instagram I am the @thedebtfree.dpt. I am 29 years old and live in Florida! My most fun fact was in 2018, I went skydiving and off the world’s largest cliff swing within 24 hours while traveling in New Zealand. I got all my adrenaline out right then and there.
What did you go to school for?
I majored in Health and Exercise Science; with a minor in psychology. I then took 2 years off after which I went to the University of Florida for my Doctorate of Physical Therapy (Go Gators!).
What is your current job title and how has that changed since you first started working?
I am a PRN physical therapist right now! I split my time between working in home health and at a local small acute care hospital. When I first started working in 2021, I actually jumped right into travel therapy and spent my first year and a half doing that in 3 different settings.
What are some different roles you’ve held since becoming a therapist? Feel free to include any side hustles/part time work!
For someone with only two years under my belt, I have held a lot of different roles! As I said, I’ve worked as a traveler in 3 settings: Outpatient pediatrics, SNF and acute care. I started PRN home health In November, 2022 and just picked up acute care in May of this year! I still see the same number of home health patients, and work acute care 10-15 hours per week! I was comfortable on PRN home health pay, so to avoid lifestyle inflation, all of my hospital income goes straight toward debt and investments. I like to think of my investments as side-hustles. Those are making me true passive income.
What would you share with someone who wanted to find a position like yours or build a company/brand such as yours?
Don’t let anyone say you shouldn't do travel therapy as a new grad. I did it days after getting my license. I definitely recommend working with multiple recruiters to find a good match. There are excellent up-to-date resources to help you begin your journey by finding a company to work with. I learned a lot about the job search, interview and contract negotiation process by following the Travel Therapy Mentor blogs and social media!
When I was looking for PRN jobs in my area, I found them on Indeed then applied directly on the company site. The HR manager actually said most people apply with just a resume on indeed or other job board sites. This was unique and helped me stand out. I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have!
I’ve been running my Instagram, focused on personal finance as a physical therapist, for about 2 years. I’ve met some great people through the platform. The cliche is true: if you want to start a page, just do it. Just post! I’ve been slowly and steadily growing, which to me is more valuable than having followers for the sake of it. I really want people to find value in what I post. Post from your personal experience and knowledge base. Instagram is so much more fun and organic when you use your own voice and style. Trends are fun and can help you grow on IG but don’t rely on them alone!. People have responded so much more to my “thrown together” posts, than those I’ve picked apart and edited for an hour. For me, it doesn’t come super naturally. I have struggled with writer’s block, consistency and needing breaks from social media. If that is you, it’s okay! Just keep going at your own pace!
What would you share with someone who is starting their journey to be a therapist?
Choosing a PT school: It doesn’t matter where you get your DPT from. I know, can you believe I said that? Choose the cheapest CAPTE accredited school in an affordable cost of living area. The student loans landscape may be changing but there is still a long way to go before PT school is in any way “affordable”. Our salaries haven’t quite caught up to the rise in tuition, either. Once you know your tuition and cost of living, be very thoughtful about taking out student loans. Take out only what you need.
PT School: Once you are in school, say “Yes” to extracurricular opportunities. You may think you have a niche you’re 100% in on, but I’ve seen many therapists go into school for one setting, and then find another one they love!
Life in PT School: Keep your life balanced in PT school (this goes for other programs, too!). Study, of course. But take breaks. Move your body. Keep your hobbies up. Take time to get food with friends. Keep up the things that make you, YOU. As one of our Basic Skills professors always said: “B is for balance”. Nobody will notice that you got a B in a class. Understanding how to apply the material is more important than the grade on the exam.
What are you most passionate about with your role as a therapist?
I have always had a passion for working with the geriatric population. My favorite part of the job are the little moments when my patients’ confidence increases as they get closer to reaching their goals. There are so many negative age stereotypes out there, and I love challenging them with my patients.
Anything else you’d like to share about yourself and your journey to where you are right now?
I come from a modest family. We thrifted everything, shopped only clearance, and I was always told it was silly to spend money on anything that could be cheaper. While coming from a well-intentioned place from my parents, this definitely instilled a scarcity mindset in me. Spending money still gives me anxiety. Because of this skewed perception of finances I was raised with, I have taken it upon myself to learn and implement good personal finance habits. This has been my mission. In 2 years I’ve paid off $25k of my student loan debt, and invested and saved about $70k. I’ve earned over $5k cash back in travel points, too! All this to say, I believe in your ability to get your finances in order.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I used to equate asking for help, with being unable to accomplish something. I always wanted to do things on my own, to prove I could. I would tell young me to ask for help or advice from those who knew better than me from their own experience. It likely would have saved a lot of time and mistakes.
What are ways our readers can connect with you and follow what you are up to?
I share personal finance content, with a focus toward rehab specialists and healthcare, on my instagram - @thedebtfree.dpt! I would love for you to join me over there and reach out to say hi! I share personal finance basics, stories about my own personal finance journey and day-to-day life,, student loan information, and travel hacking tips!
Check out more info here!