The question that will ignite your career

career May 21, 2020

Recently I announced my retirement as Founding Director of the University of Evansville & ProRehab Sports Residency Program after 14 years. I am so thankful for that opportunity and looking back, so glad I did it --- While I’m in awe of the impact we’ve had over the years, I’m equally excited for the new leadership moving forward.

What a humbling legacy...but now it causes me to ask, "What will I want to look back on in 10 years and be glad I started today?" What’s next for me?

Sure 14 years as residency program director goes fast but it still seems like a long time too. These past 8 weeks have been an even greater wake up call that the sum of our minutes, hours, days, and weeks make up our years and then ultimately our life.

I honestly can’t believe we have been at home for two months. Where has the time gone?

I was recently asked, “What do you want to be able to say about your time when this pandemic is over?  Do you want to say that...

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Filling the gap between new grad and expert

“Fix the hip extension,” he said nonchalantly.  The ease of his answer frustrated me.  I had struggled to improve a patient’s dorsiflexion for two weeks and his answer was too quick.  I was convinced he hadn’t listened to me and pressed further.

“I don’t think you understand.  I can get the ankle better and restore the range of motion with manual treatment, but it doesn’t stick,”  I repeated.  

“Yes, so fix the hip extension and the dorsiflexion will stay without needing to mobilize it every session,” he stated confidently.  

I knew the SFMA and I understood the concept of regional interdependence, but there were many other things I would try and improve on this patient before I’d think about fixing hip extension. But, he wasn’t changing his answer.  So I left to improve hip extension, prove that wasn’t the problem and then come back to get a different...

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Is there a financial silver lining right now?

financial May 07, 2020


I need to start by saying that there are an unprecedented amount of financial hardships brought on by COVID.  I do not want to downplay that or draw attention away from it.  Everyone is struggling and some a lot more than others.  This post will not be for everyone, I recognize that.  But even in the toughest of times, my mom instilled in me the value of always trying to find a silver lining from a very young age.

That is not to say that I didn’t spend much of March and a good portion of April being stressed and angry.  I did.  Grieving and coping is part of the process, but eventually I have a learned reflex to find the good in the situation. Full disclosure, I’m on 20 hours of pay currently (I know a lot better than many), but nonetheless half of what I normally make.  I’m not looking for sympathy, in fact I don’t want it.  Because I did find the silver lining that is going to benefit me financially in the...

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Why Patients Don’t Do Their Exercises

career Apr 30, 2020

“How are the exercises going?” I asked.  There was a pause and a break in eye contact and I knew what she was about to say.

“I really haven’t done them.”

“How come?” I replied trying not to seem too disappointed.  I felt like the last session had gone really well and I was looking forward to following up with this patient all day.

She had started PT elsewhere and I was getting the chance to take over at the three month mark post SLAP repair.  She played on an intramural volleyball team and coached youth softball, she was an active person.  The last session we had eliminated the pinch she felt at end range and she left excited, hopeful, and determined.  What happened in the days since I had seen her last?  Where did that motivation go?  Why hadn’t she done her exercises?

Determined to find out I started asking questions.  Were they too hard? No.  Too easy? No.  Did they hurt? No. ...

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I have too many free t-shirts

career development Apr 24, 2020

After I went to my first Combined Sections Meeting for PT, I came home with twelve new t-shirts.  I thought this was pretty awesome.  I’ve been a sucker for a free t-shirt for as long as I can remember and I cavalierly stopped by any booth promising a free shirt.  It didn’t matter what it was, I wanted it.  Truthfully, I didn’t even know what half the t-shirts were advertising.  

During the same time, I put my email in a drawing for free books.  Turns out I got an email a few days later stating I won a stack of different books relating to physical therapy.  I didn’t open a single one of those books for four years, but I did begrudgingly give away a few very worn t-shirts.  

My point?  Not all free things are created equal and in the past I’ve not always been good about discerning which is more meaningful.  But I will say, until I cleaned out my closet last weekend… I had way too many...

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Do you want to make an impact in physical therapy?

career impact mission vision Apr 16, 2020
When I first became a physical therapist I used to constantly think, "I could've come up with that."  I'd pick up The Stick, the BOSU ball, and so many other pieces of equipment and wonder how it became so widespread.
I've never actually wanted to create a piece of equipment, but I've always had the desire to leave my mark on physical therapy.
I spent the first few years of my career trying to figure out "my thing."  I wanted to be an expert in something, I wanted to uncover something new, and I wanted to leave the profession better than when I came into it.  
I still want to leave a legacy, but the how part seems so elusive.  Phil and I talked this week about how you can make an impact on physical therapy and how he came to develop the Y-Balance Test.
I'll give you a hint... it doesn't come down to a single "ah-ha" moment.
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I don't know if you're anything like me, but day after day I find myself saying some form of:
But, suddenly my biggest reason of "if I only had more time" is GONE.   And, what I've realized is that it may not have been a reason, but more of an excuse.  I've had A LOT more time these past few weeks and I still haven't worked half as much as I could on the things that are important... on things that I consider dreams.
I've heard the same thing from so many I've mentored in the Rebellion, we've all said some form of the following...
"I'd start my own practice, but I have no time to plan."
"I'd love to learn the XYZ inside and out if I had more time."
"I would take XYZ course if only there was more time."
"I'd create a running seminar if I had more time."
"I would learn more about strength and conditioning, but there's not enough time."
"If I had more time" is actually right now, it's...
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PT Used to Suck

burnout career Apr 02, 2020
I want to tell you about Ted (his name and identifying details have been changed, but the rest is the same).
On the first call with Ted, he told me that PT sucks and that he felt lost.
It wasn't that he didn't know what he was doing or even that he didn't know what he wanted to do in PT.  The problem was that he didn't know how to get there.
It was hard to listen as he blamed himself for how he felt.  He felt guilty about how annoyed he was with his current position.  
Ted was describing The Life Cycle of a PT or the first half of it at least.  He wasn't sure what was next, his expectations weren't being met, and he felt stuck.  
These aren't uncommon feelings, but what comes next ultimately defines how you progress as a PT.  The first thing Ted had to do was believe that things could be different.  By doing this, he entered into the second half of The Life Cycle of a PT or...
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Does this make me a bad PT?

burnout career Mar 19, 2020
Years ago, I remember talking with Phil in the final months of residency.  He asked me if I could create the career I wanted, what would look like?
I only had a partial picture at the time and I went home to think more about it.  I remember writing down working with athletes, a flexible schedule, hour long treatment sessions, and wellness visits.  I was in the infancy of figuring out my ideal career, but for some reason I still felt like something big was missing.  In fact, I knew something big was missing.  But, I didn't want to admit it.
I didn't want to treat patients 40 hours a week.  I didn't want to see patients all day long.  
And I couldn't help thinking, does that make me a bad PT?  I was only 1 year into the profession and already wanting to decrease my treatment hours.  It made me start to doubt my future in PT.  If I'm one year in and don't want to treat full-time, do I even...
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Why doesn’t the excitement from CSM last?

burnout career Feb 24, 2020

Have you experienced it yet? That sinking feeling when you get back from CSM.

While I am at CSM I always feel so invigorated and excited about PT. Then you get back to the day to day grind of PT and all that passion and positivity seems to fade away. At least that is how I used to feel.

Why do we feel so good when we are there but that feeling never lasts as long as we would like?

I first thought it was because we were learning new things. It has been said that those who are continually learning have much more career happiness. But that can’t be all there is to it. If that were the case, watching online continuing education courses would be enough. Don't get me wrong, I get a lot out of online continuing education like MedBridge, but it does not fulfill one of our deepest needs --- community.

We were meant to be in community. We were not meant to do this PT career thing alone. What we do as PTs is hard. It is emotionally draining to listen to people tell you about all their...

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