Legacy Spotlight: Melissa Shelton

Legacy Spotlights feature team members who have dedicated over 5 years to our organization. Their accomplishments and collaborations have made an impact on our organization, and that’s something to highlight and celebrate.

What is your name?

Melissa Shelton, DPT

What is your role at ARC Physical Therapy+?

Lead Therapist

How long have you worked at ARC Physical Therapy+?

I celebrated 8 years in December 2023.

Which clinics have you worked at?

I’ve been in the Springfield clinic all 8 years, and recently been spending limited time in the Joplin clinic.

What are some of your favorite memories?

The co-workers I’ve had over the years in Springfield (and KC) have been some of the most genuine, caring, and entertaining people I know. A few favorites:

  • Dave Hagar and I taking mental health breaks to play ping pong for 5 minutes in the break room.
  • Laila Gammon and I re-creating high school picture poses for spirit weeks.
  • Jeremy Graddy completing his annual cartwheel in the clinic.
  • Tonya Knoettgen surfing after the 20th anniversary party.
  • Jeremy Holmes pretending to be his own voicemail to dodge my calls.
  • I could go on and on! 

What do you say to someone who is starting out in PT?

Genuinely listen to your patients and address what they are saying in one way or another. It’s okay to pivot in your plan based on what they are telling you and what you are seeing. Patients will respect that you are willing to adjust your plan in order to more effectively help them.

What makes ARCPT+ different from other clinics you’ve worked at?

I’ve got to come back to the people! Knowing that you can reach out to someone with a question, or for an idea, or for help getting additional information is huge. We are a large group of experts and we are willing to help each other.

I also think just being so work comp focus allows us to really understand the process. We know how to help the patient, the doctor, the employer, case manager, and the adjuster — all at the same time. The education about work comp I’ve received at ARC far exceeds any previous work comp knowledge I thought I had.

I believe our stance on visits sets us apart from other PT clinics also. I tell all my patients, work comp or private health insurance, our stance on visits is if we need all the approved visits we’ll use them…but if we don’t, we won’t. I will never keep you coming just to keep you coming. I don’t want to waste your time or your money. Once you are good to go and meet your goals I’ll be the first one to make those phone calls if we don’t need all the visits. On the flip side, if we are making good progress but aren’t quite to goals I will request more visits.

One last thing: our data and our outcomes. We have great outcomes with our patients, meaning they get back to work in a timely manner without restrictions the majority of the time. And…we have the data to back that up. We may be a more expensive provider, but if we get your injured worker back to work in fewer visits and without restrictions, when looking at the big picture we’ve saved you money.

Have you been involved in any educational, fellowship or mentoring programs at ARCPT+? 

I’ve taken part in the McKenzie training courses over the years, which gives me more options to help my patients get better. That training has also enabled me to equip my patients to maintain those gains made in therapy without being dependent on me or any other external source.

What do you enjoy about working with work comp patients?

Again, the people! I’ve met some amazing people from all walks of life that I would have never encountered if it weren’t for ARC. I’ve learned A LOT about several different vocations and industries and skills that I never dreamed I’d be exposed to or work with. My experience with work comp patients is that they are typically highly motivated to return to work and are willing to help me and help themselves get back to work. I work with a lot of police and fire personnel in the Springfield clinic and it brings me joy to help them get back to what they love to do: serve the people of our community. It’s amazing to me how much a person’s identity is related to their job and if I can help someone get that feeling of wholeness back after an injury, there’s not many things better than that.

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