You shouldn’t go into PT

burnout career Jan 11, 2021

“You shouldn’t go into PT,” I overheard a physical therapist telling a college student.  

 

I had been eavesdropping since I heard the student say that she loved observing and was almost certain that she wanted to go into the profession.

The PT went into detail about there not being enough money, that there is no longer job security, that there is no flexibility, and that you don’t have as much freedom as you’d want. It was for over five minutes that he continued trying to convince her not to go into physical therapy.

I took a quick glance in her direction and immediately saw the disappointment on her face.  She told him she’d think about it and I don’t think she spoke again the rest of the day.

I don’t want to argue about whether or not what he said is true.  And I’m not saying that there isn’t any truth to it.

But, if you hate the profession so much that you would destroy the dreams of a college...

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How to Reflect on 2020

career Jan 03, 2021

I’ve read two different ideas about how to reflect on 2020 - the first I hated... and the second I loved.

The first idea said something like, if you didn’t hustle in 2020, you don’t have what it takes in you.  It said that if you didn’t work harder than you ever have before then somehow you don’t have what it takes.  I couldn’t disagree more.  2020 was a time for survival.  A time where you constantly had to adjust and respond to things you never saw coming.  When you are in survival mode, it is hard to “hustle” and hard to grow.  So, don’t beat yourself up.

The second concept I think is great.  In an email from Jon Acuff, he recommends grading the year on a curve.  When a test was harder than anticipated and when the outcomes were skewed to one end, you often get a curve.  2020 gets a curve.  

Maybe you didn’t start your own practice like you wanted, but you picked a...

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Are you frustrated in your career as a PT?

burnout career Dec 12, 2020

I think at one point in time or another we are all looking to have that great career. It starts with a dream or maybe a plan in high school or college “to be something.” For most of us, that “something” was to be a physical therapist. Over the years, the meaning of “being a physical therapist” changes. Frequently it can change from a dream to boredom or worse change into a nightmare.

When we get out of school, many times PT is not what we thought it was going to be. 

At some point we get disenchanted. We find ourselves saying things like:

Is this all there is?

I can’t see myself doing this the rest of my career

There has got to be more

I don’t want to be a PT anymore

We then look for a change. Change jobs, change cities, change careers. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always help. 

In Episode 21 of the Movement Podcast, Jenna Gourlay, Gray Cook and Lee Burton discuss their career paths. It was amazing to me to hear the...

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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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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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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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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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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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Choosing your next job....how to know if it is the right fit

career Sep 12, 2020

One of my best friends is a computer programmer. We have worked on several projects together and have designed some really useful software (if I do say so myself). I would always ask him, “Can you program it to____________ (fill in the blank)?” His response was, “Sure! Given enough time and money.”

That is when he introduced me to the Good, Fast, Cheap triangle. With any project it can be high quality (good), done quickly (fast), or not very expensive (cheap).

You can only have two exist at a time. It can either be done really fast and cheap, but the quality won’t be very good. Or it can be done well and quickly, but that is going to be expensive. 

You get the point. That is why his answer to “Can you program it to ____?” was always "Yes, given enough time and money."

Many of us dream about the perfect job... great hours, incredible pay, doing exactly what we want. While I am a believer that you can strike professional gold, many...

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How do I know which PT job to pick? Differentiating average from awesome

 

When it came to deciding on which residency to attend, I took tours and sat in interview after interview.  Sometimes it felt like I was comparing the exact same program only in different locations and other times it felt like the variations made them impossible to compare. I also questioned whether the interviews and tours accurately represented the program or if I was only getting to see what they wanted me to see.  At the time, I had no idea how to use the experience to help me determine what was the right choice for me.

Whether this is your first PT job or your next job, finding the right fit and deciding whether or not to take a job can leave you full of uncertainty.  We all experience the doubt and hesitation that comes with wanting to make the right choice.  So, how do we choose?  Part of it comes from gathering the right information during the application process and part of it comes from understanding what is important to you.  There are 5 main...

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