Biology II classes at Baker High School had the honor of welcoming 1988 BHS alumna Dr. Cynthia Tronstad, now an esteemed Doctor of Physical Therapy at the Fallon Medical Complex, on Tuesday, April 4, 2017.
By Linda Rost
Biology II classes at Baker High School had the honor of welcoming 1988 BHS alumna Dr. Cynthia Tronstad, now an esteemed Doctor of Physical Therapy at the Fallon Medical Complex, on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. Many students in the Biology II classes are interested in careers in the medical field, and this was an opportunity to learn about a variety of fields, as well the education required to enter into some of those careers.
Dr. Tronstad graduated one year early from high school in 1988 by completing high school through the North Dakota School of Independence, and had several career aspirations at that time. She was interested in being an interpreter for the military, but her ambitions quickly moved to the medical field, and she graduated cum laude from Dickinson State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology (Pre-Med) in 1995. This required incredible dedication, including taking 24 credits one semester, after obtaining special permission from the dean. She also took the maximum amount of credits during most other semesters.
After deciding on a career in Physical Therapy, which had the appealing combination of helping people, medical sciences, and higher patient-provider time than a career as a physician, Dr. Tronstad applied and was accepted to the brand-new University of Mary Physical Therapy program. She graduated with a Master’s of Physical Therapy degree in 1998, and has completed internships at various facilities with different specialties, including wound care, ICU and inpatient, spinal cord injuries and geriatric care. After receiving a license from the Board of Physical Therapy Examiners to practice in Montana, she started working as a Physical Therapist in 2000. She started working in the Physical Therapy Department at the Fallon Medical Clinic in 2002, so this year is her 15th year of dedicated service to our community.
Soon after obtaining her license, Montana changed the requirements for Physical Therapists and now require a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Dr. Tronstad went back to school, this time to Regis University, to pursue her final degree, which she completed in 2006. Many of her classes were online, which she took while working full time, having a young child and being pregnant with her second. Her routine included her day shift at the clinic, evening shift with her family, and her school work was completed from about 9:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. She continued this rigorous schedule for two and a half years, while also flying to Denver on the weekends, every eight weeks, for more classes, and returning in time to continue her schedule at the clinic on Monday.
She shared that her favorite classes were Genetics, Physiology, and Pathophysiology, where she learned how different injuries or diseases display themselves. In her career as a physical therapist she has greatly enjoyed working with her patients and watching them progress. In addition, she shared some interesting and humorous stories about some of her favorite or most inspiring patients. Dr. Tronstad also performed demonstrations on students to show them how to dress wounds, and how to wrap various types of injuries. Students had many questions for Dr. Tronstad, and there was also interest in job shadowing with her.
Fallon Medical Clinic currently has three highly qualified physical therapists who serve our community. Dr. Amber Hurley, PT, DPT joined FMC nine years ago, and graduated from the University of Mary in 2008 with a BS in University Studies and an Emphasis in Rehabilitation Science. She completed her Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2008 from the University of Mary. Dr. Victoria Susa, PT, DPT graduated in 2010 from Southwest Minnesota State University with a BS in Physical Education and a concentration in Exercise Science. In 2013, she received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Nova Southeastern University in Florida, and joined FMC four years ago. The facility serves patients of all ages, and for a variety of conditions; as Dr. Tronstad shared, her youngest patient was three days old, and her oldest patient was 108 years old. Services provided by the therapy department include the following: Geriatrics, Pediatrics, Infant/Child Developmental Delay, Sports Physical Therapy, Veteran’s Affairs, Wound Management, and Education/In-service, among others. According to their brochure, “Our philosophy is to work as a team. To realize your potential, you must be an active participant in your own recovery.”