This week’s spotlight is on Beth Lind, DPT, who took the road less traveled and now holds the title of Software Tester for MEDITECH!
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What is your full name, title, and company name for your current, primary role?
Beth Lind, DPT – Software Tester for MEDITECH
Where are you located?
Where did you go to PT school, and what year did you graduate?
I went to PT school at The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN. I graduated in 2012.
Getting my degree was a big deal because I wasn’t the typical student. I was in my 30s and had three young children and a husband at home. Also, the school was an hour and a half away from my home, so I sometimes had to stay with a relative near the school.
What did you do when you first finished school, and for how long?
I first worked as a PT in an outpatient clinic for four years.
In what setting(s) did you work, and what types of patients did you treat?
It was an outpatient clinic connected to an outpatient medical clinic in the town I lived in. I specialized in manual therapy and mostly treated orthopedic patients. I also became certified in treating lymphedema patients.
What did you enjoy about your early roles? What didn’t you enjoy?
I enjoyed treating the variety of patient diagnoses I saw, along with learning how to diagnose each patient and having successful treatment outcomes. I also enjoyed getting to know my patients and learning their stories.
On the other hand, I didn’t enjoy the pace and the pressure to treat many patients in one day. I didn’t enjoy the pressure of sometimes being the patient’s “only hope,” and having patients sent for physical therapy by their doctors who didn’t know what to do with them.
Also, the clinic in which I worked was part of a larger hospital system, and they focused more on the “numbers” than the quality of patient care.
It didn’t matter if you had successful outcomes—if you had low numbers of patients that you had seen, it was seen as a problem.
What else have you done since then, prior to your current role?
After four years, I left that clinic to work in home health care.
I only worked there for six months before my previous manager asked me to come and work for the private clinic he had just opened up. So, I worked there for four years, doing outpatient therapy with a focus on manual therapy, lymphedema and treating breast cancer patients.
After that, I moved to another private outpatient clinic for a year and a half. This clinic focused on women’s health, and I became certified in treating pelvic floor dysfunctions, along with using my manual therapy skills and lymphedema training.
At this clinic, I also started helping with marketing and building their social media presence.
When and why did you decide to do something non-clinical?
Before the pandemic (around 2019), I had been researching what else I could possibly do as a physical therapist.
I was feeling somewhat burned out on outpatient, and I was also struggling with some chronic health issues that I could tell were being affected by my work.
I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome in 2017, and was struggling with even working 20 hours a week as a physical therapist.
For four months during the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, I was out of work, and, in that time, I thought maybe I needed to change directions and try working for a different clinic. I made the switch to a clinic with a women’s health focus and did alright for a few months.
During this whole time I was still looking into other jobs/careers that I could possibly do, as something was telling me I didn’t think I could work as a physical therapist forever.
At that time, when I met with my manager at the clinic, she asked me if I wanted to be a PT. I couldn’t answer her at first, but when I went home and thought about it, the answer was, “No, I don’t want to be a PT.”
When I thought about being done being a PT, I felt a sense of relief. Yes, I was scared to make the move and give up the career I had worked so hard for—but, with my physical and mental health being so low, I had realized that was the only and best option.
In the spring of 2022, I resigned from my position as a physical therapist, deciding I would take some time to figure out what I wanted to do and to work on getting healthier.
What are you doing these days?
Today, I am working as Software Tester for MEDITECH in their home health application system.
Are you still treating patients, or are you solely non-clinical?
Right now I am solely non-clinical, and I’m not sure if/when I will go back to treating patients. That’s still something I’m working through.
How long have you been in your current role?
About six months.
Did you get any special certifications or training along the way to help you get into your current role?
No, I didn’t.
How did you find your job? Did you apply or find it through a connection?
A friend of mine works for MEDITECH and, when she heard about me leaving my job as a physical therapist, she asked if I would want to work in EHR or tech.
At that time, I told her I didn’t know, but I was open to exploring it more.
She helped me get started with the process. I had also noticed jobs advertised from MEDITECH on LinkedIn and their website, but I wasn’t sure at that time what they were (nor if it was something I wanted to do).
What was the interview like for the role?
I first had a screening phone call with one of the supervisors. After that, he had me do a online software tester “test” and application.
I then interviewed over Zoom with multiple people, where I was asked questions. Then, they had me complete a couple of problem-solving questions.
How have people reacted to you leaving patient care?
Most have been very supportive and understanding. Sometimes someone will ask why. After I explain, they always say something positive.
What’s a typical day or week in the life like for you? What types of tasks and responsibilities fill your time?
I work from home right now, as I live far from the office. Most of my team works from home, too.
I work Monday through Friday, eight-hour days. I work with a team of designers, developers, and other software testers for MEDITECH’s electronic health record (EHR) home health care application.
On most days, I meet with my manager or mentor and the team I work with—so I am in contact with people every day over Google Meet or Zoom.
We go over the projects that we have set up for the month and talk through them. I am assigned projects to run through testing, which involves actually following a test plan to run through the home care application system.
It is like being the clinician and performing a task to see if it passes or not. If it doesn’t pass, it is then sent back to the developers to see what is going on.
I also spend time in MEDITECH’s library of trainings. They do an excellent job of providing trainings on each position (and the company itself).
What are some of the rewards of your role? What are the biggest challenges?
Being a software tester is like solving puzzles every day. I enjoy running test plans and figuring out the process, and sometimes assisting in figuring out why a test did or did not work.
One of the biggest challenges I face is feeling somewhat alone. After working with people every day for 10 years, I am now in my own home, alone in an office of one…with the only communication being with other people over the internet.
Another challenge is learning how the whole process works in designing, developing, and testing electronic health records. It is a whole new world, and one where I have had to start learning from the bottom.
How did your clinical background prepare you for this role? Which skills transferred?
Being a clinician has been extremely helpful in this role. As a clinician, you have to learn to organize your work and have a system with treatment/documentation/etc.—and that’s exactly what you have to do as a software tester.
If you don’t have a system, you can forget a step or miss something. Being a software tester is solving a puzzle—just like treating patients—so, if you go down the wrong path, the patient (or test) won’t get fixed (or solved)…so you have to back-track and figure out where to go next.
Also, being detail-oriented is helpful, because you have to follow test plans exactly how they are written or the software won’t work correctly.
Having experience using electronic health records as a clinician and understanding the process a clinician goes through have both been extremely helpful. With learning a whole new job, I didn’t have to learn how a clinician may use the software.
Roughly speaking, how are the hours and pay compared to patient care?
The hours are great, and I don’t have to take any documentation home at night like I did as a clinician. I make less than what I made as a clinician, but I can work more hours as it doesn’t affect my physical or mental health like being a clinician did.
There are also opportunities for advancement within the company—and they also do yearly reviews, so I’m not worried about making less right now.
What type of person do you think would do well in your role?
To be a software tester, you need to be detail-oriented, able to easily work with others, and someone who doesn’t mind being wrong or making mistakes. You also need to be able to sit/and or stand at a computer for extended periods of time.
Do you work remotely or onsite?
Does your organization hire PT, OT, or SLP professionals into non-clinical roles? If so, what type of roles?
MEDITECH hires clinical professionals into non-clinical roles, and there always seems to be new opportunities.
They hire software testers, client services professionals, marketing specialists, and many other types of roles.
I believe they want to hire clinicians more in the future, due to our knowledge and experience with working with electronic health records.
What is next for you? What are your high-level career aspirations?
Continuing to work as a software tester and being comfortable in this position. Maybe in the future, I can start helping with development or design of a therapy application system—if that opportunity should arise.
What would you recommend to someone who is considering going into a role like yours? Do you have any special words of wisdom for the readers?
Be open to new experiences and learning new things. We have a lot to offer as clinicians, not just in treating patients. Our experiences can transfer over to other areas quite quickly and easily.
What career advice would you give yourself that you wish you had during school?
Consider looking into other areas while in school, not just clinical care. Look at getting involved with APTA, legislature, and tech/software.
What would you teach to today’s graduate students in your profession, if you had the opportunity?
Think outside the box. Don’t pigeonhole yourself into clinical care.
Do you have any special advice for others who want to follow in your footsteps?
Tell people your story, talk to others outside of your circle, and recognize that you never may know where that may lead you.