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Physical therapist assistant finds calling helping others

Four months ago, Erma Wilson lay in bed recovering from a broken leg. At 78, she fell, and the injury disrupted her daily routine. “I had to learn how to use my leg again,” Wilson says. “I was feeling poorly, but with Tammie here, things started to change.”

Tammie Law is a graduate of Tidewater Community College’s Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant. She is now a physical therapist assistant (PTA) with Gentiva, a family of companies committed to raising the bar in home health care.

Law travels from home to home providing physical therapy for a diverse group of patients. “We are a mobile physical therapy unit bringing whatever the patient needs right to the door,” she says. “Whether it’s exercise equipment or ultrasound therapy or electrical stimulation, we do it all.”

She makes six or seven calls a day and says the job is a dream.

Tammie Law assists Erma Wilson
Tammie Law assists Erma Wilson

“I absolutely love my life and my work. It’s just so gratifying to see people make strides and continue to live independently,” she says.

Law notes that part of her work is monitoring patient vitals and responding if an immediate need arises.

“Our goal is total patient health, so we keep an eye and educate patients on areas that may be a concern,” she says. “We teach everything from how to get into a car safely to fall prevention to the diabetic diet.”

Law started as a medic in the Army and later worked as a nurse aide before her third career in physical therapy. “I was looking for better pay and more rewarding work,” she says.

She chose TCC after attending an information session on the PTA program. “It took me three years to complete the program, and then I walked right into a job that I love,” she says.

At Gentiva, Law serves as a clinical instructor for the TCC students completing their internship rotations with the company.

“It’s my way of giving back, and my company is supportive because they are appreciative of all of the TCC-trained PTAs they’ve hired.”

Law credits Melanie Basinger, program head, and Bunny May, instructor, for her success. “This was not an easy program to get through,” Law adds. “But the people of TCC were amazing, and they prepared me well for my work.”

As for Wilson, she is committed to keep on moving. “I would not be walking today without the care Tammie provided,” she says. “I’m even managing the steps so I can get out of the house and enjoy life.”

Law and husband Scott, a hospice nurse, have two daughters, Jessie and Kelly.

“I’m a happier person, and that translates at home,” she says. “And the financial boost has made a huge difference to my family.”

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