The American Physical Therapy Association recently announced that University of Puget Sound Professor of Physical Therapy Jennifer Hastings is the winner of the 2019 Henry O. and Florence P. Kendall Practice Award. Known in the physical therapy field for her pioneering work in spinal cord injury rehabilitation and wheelchair seating and positioning, Hastings has worn many hats throughout her career, including clinician, professor, researcher, author, presenter, and mentor.
“Over my 13 years as a neuro PT in the Seattle region, I have met countless patients and families who said that Dr. Hastings forever changed their lives,” says Elisa Smith, a neurologic clinical specialist and former adjunct faculty member at Puget Sound’s School of Physical Therapy.
Recipients of the Henry O. and Florence P. Kendall Practice Award must meet a number of criteria, including positively and substantially affecting the shape, scope, and quality of physical therapy practice; making an impact on other physical therapists in a manner that has significantly increased their abilities to practice physical therapy; and contributing to the overall and widespread development of physical therapy as a caring profession.
“I can only describe the experience of learning from Dr. Hastings as trying to hang on to the coattails of an electron,” says Nicole Brun-Cottan D.P.T.’17. “Her presence in a room intimates that there is no time to be wasted. Her lessons come in layers, with blinding speed and power. She blends content and context with grace in both the clinic and the classroom.
“What sets Dr. Hastings apart is how fiercely she embodies the truth that, fundamentally, the way we teach people to care is by caring about them,” continues Brun-Cottan. “That when we do this, we are both providing care and modeling what it looks like to provide care. That through this process of showing up and paying attention, always with an eye toward how we can help, we affect people and, together, we effect change.”
In addition to her clinical practice and research work, Hasting has served for 18 years as a professor of physical therapy at Puget Sound, including six years as the director of the university’s program and three years as the director of clinical education.
“In Dr. Hastings’ office, there is a framed quotation that reads, ‘It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit,’” recalls Smith. “Through her career, this has been her motto. But there comes a time when acknowledgment for a job well done is fitting.
“Dr. Hastings has made a deep and lasting mark in the field of physical therapy and is deserving to be honored with this award.”