"Don't Get Old"

“Don’t get old,” she told me as she struggled to get out of the chair and grabbed onto my arm for balance.  


First of all, she wasn’t old in my opinion.  She was sixty-seven.  But, that’s not what bothered me.  I hear this said a lot during the day.  So many patients want to blame their age for all of their physical difficulties.  And I get that I’m not aging like they are yet and cannot truly understand their experience.  Whether right or not, I still get frustrated.

Smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, and an overall neglect for her body may be more to blame than simply the passing of her sixty-seven years.  Especially when she told me in the previous session that she only drinks diet coke and hasn’t drank water in fourteen years.  She said it like it was some kind of accomplishment as if she beat the system.  They say you need to drink 8 glasses of water, but I don’t...

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Is owning your own practice the only way to get the freedom you want?

“I guess I need to start my own practice,” Matt told me.  He sounded completely defeated.  He had just finished telling me how frustrated and bored he was at work.  He wasn’t getting paid enough, his loans were growing rather than shrinking, and worst of all he felt like he was going through the motions at work.

 I’ve had this same conversation with so many people over the years and I’ve said the same thing as Matt before.  

Here’s the thing, you’re not alone if you’ve ever thought that starting your own practice is the only way out.

Maybe you’re bored and don’t want to keep doing the same thing day in and day out.  Maybe you want more money, but the gradual incremental (and small) raises aren’t enough.  Maybe you want more freedom in your schedule and you want to control your schedule rather than your schedule controlling every aspect of your life.  Or maybe you dream of...

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Failing Does Not Mean Failure. What You Do Next Decides That.

dear pt students Nov 27, 2020
Dear PT Students,
 
The distribution of grades from our first anatomy exam was written on the board when we entered lecture. There was an overwhelming majority of A’s and only one person failed.
 
I sat there feeling bad for that one person. It was one thing when you failed a physics exam in undergrad that over half the class also failed, it was another thing to be the lowest grade by a substantial margin. And then we got the tests back...
 
I was the one. I failed my first exam of PT school. It was devastating, embarrassing, and made me question if I had what it took.
 
My confidence was shattered immediately and it was VERY disorienting. My success had always been linked to my identity and in the matter of one test I didn’t feel good enough.
I went to see the professor (as instructed on the top of the exam). She told me one thing that I still remind myself of often.
 
“Failing does not mean failure. What you do next...
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I LOVE my patients, but I don’t always like patient care….

burnout career Nov 21, 2020

It is 8 am and my day is about to start.  I’m well rested, I went for a run this morning and I just leisurely finished my cup of coffee.  Life is good or it should be…

No matter how great of a morning I’m having, I still don’t want to start my day of patients.  There’s nothing out of the ordinary on the schedule, no double bookings, no shortened appointments.  But, while I’m well rested, I just don’t feel like I have the emotional energy.

I don’t feel like making small talk today.  I’m not in the mood to listen to patient reports.  

But, I go grab my 8 am from the waiting room and before she is even out of her chair she is telling me how much worse she is.  This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine.  I don’t want to talk about symptoms until we are back at a table.  Yet, she spends every single one of the 200 steps toward the treatment area telling me how bad she hurts.  I...

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You are not alone feeling this way

dear pt students Nov 20, 2020
Dear PT Students,
 
“What non-musculosketal cause might you worry about if this was your patient?” the evaluator asked me.
 
Sitting in front of me was my practical patient that was complaining of neck pain. You know what questions feel like during a practical. You’re on edge and may not even feel 100% sure if the evaluator was asking your own name.
 
All that stood between me and being done with the practical was this single question. I was almost done. My brain was in panic mode though and my mind was blank. Here’s my thought process: Okay, neck pain red flags. Neck = Cervical spine. Red flags = almost always some sort of cancer.
 
“Cervical cancer.”
 
My patient laughed. The evaluator looked down trying to hide a smile. And I stood there completely oblivious.
 
As you finish your semester, your practicals, and your final exams remember that you know the answer. You’ve prepared, you’ve...
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Landing Your Ideal Job by Turning the Search Process Upside Down

career job search Oct 17, 2020

Steve contacted the human resources director of a company because they had outpatient and inpatient PT jobs in multiple states. Unfortunately, after a few conversations, it was clear they didn’t have any opportunities in the areas he was interested. But the HR director referred him to the manager of an outpatient clinic for a different company in a different city and he was able to land his dream job. 

 

Sarah interviewed with a hospital for an acute care position. Over the course of several conversations, she mentioned that she was also interested in women’s health. Rather than getting the inpatient job, the manager recommended her for a position that wasn’t even posted yet -- director of the new women’s health initiative at the hospital.

 

After talking with his mentors, Blaine secured an interview with an NFL team. He prepped extremely well but in the end didn’t get the job. Interestingly, several months later one of the strength...

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You Don't Need To Be Perfect - Just Keep Getting Better

dear pt students Oct 09, 2020

Dear PT Students,

As a new grad, I was struggling with a patient and voiced my frustrations to a co-worker. She listened to me and then asked me the following three questions:

1. Are you using all the resources you have to help this patient?
2. Are you trying your absolute best?
3. Will you keep trying?

My answer to all three questions was “yes”, but this did nothing to calm the frustrations. And then she looked at me and gave me the one piece of advice that I still carry today:

“You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to keep getting better.”

Perfection is unrealistic. While we all want to be perfect, chasing perfection is bound to leave us feeling like we aren’t good enough, as it did for me with my patient.

Chasing improvement is where growth replaces the fear of failure. So, whether a difficult course, a tough patient case, or an experience that scares you, focus on getting better. And ask yourself:

Am I using all my resources, am I trying my...

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PT Autonomy or Monotony?

burnout career Oct 03, 2020

At my work, a texting system is the main communication between the front desk and the therapists. When a patient arrives, we get a text or if there is a walk-in evaluation we will get a text. Sometimes a text will simply be an update or a question, but for the most part, it alerts us that a patient has arrived.

So, at 7:56 am my phone vibrates. I take it out and my 8 am patient is here. This continues one after another after another.  Your patient is here.  Your patient is here.  Your patient is here.  At 11:27 am, I feel the vibration and instead of “your patient is here” it reads “we need more clipboards if anyone has any.”  I’m met with a sigh of relief.  It isn’t my 11:30 patient.  I have a minute to myself.  The relief I feel is significant.  I shouldn’t be this excited that the front desk needs clipboards, but I am.  It is a break in the monotony.

The morning, the day, actually the...

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Stop Comparing Yourself

dear pt students Sep 25, 2020

Dear PT Students,
 
I sat in the car until the last possible second. I tried to talk myself up, I tried to think positively, and on this particular day I tried not to cry.
 
There were more days like this during my acute care rotation than I’d like to admit. I didn’t like the hospital, I was intimidated by the lines and tubes, and there wasn’t a single minute that I felt at ease walking through the CCU for the entire 12 weeks of my clinical.
 
The worst part though… many of my classmates were having great experiences. They loved going into their clinical and I was sitting in my car trying to get myself to walk into the building.
 
I started questioning if I was cut out for physical therapy. I kept worrying that I had made a mistake. And I wished for confidence that never came.
 
What kind of PT was I going to be if I hated my rotation while others raved about theirs?
 
As it turned out, I am an outpatient/sports PT...
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Is it possible to love your job and not like the people you work with?

career Sep 19, 2020

We saw a lot of patients, worked long hours, and had lots of documentation. The patients were a garden variety of outpatient orthopaedic patients -- not necessarily my ideal patient type. But I LOVED my job. It was fun to go to work. I remember saying “I could dig a ditch with these people and enjoy it.”

Thinking of memories like this got me considering, “Is it possible to love your job and not like the people you work with?” I think the answer certainly depends on the person. I would say in general, if you don’t like the people you are working with, you will have an uphill battle enjoying your job. If you don’t like the people you are working with, every other aspect of the job must be perfect. Even then, I don’t really think you can LOVE your job.

I believe for most people that what you are doing as a job pales in comparison to who you are working with.

Does your work family have the following?

 

1) You Develop Meaningful Friendships...

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