Shout out to all of you who are part of the BEST PROFESSION EVER! Ha, so maybe that’s a biased opinion, but I honestly can’t say it enough…I LOVE WHAT I DO! I celebrated my 1 year anniversary at work a month and a half ago, and yes, I still get that tinge of excitement when I introduce myself as a physical therapist (PT). It was quite the journey to get here, but one I am grateful for and often enjoy reflecting upon.
I was introduced to the profession as a youngster while attending appointments with a family member, but the ball didn’t start rolling until I reached secondary school. I attended a health magnet program, which gave me the opportunity to undergo “rotations”, basically introducing us to the health field and allowing us to shadow various health professionals. I still remember shadowing a physical therapist at an inpatient rehab working with a young man injured while serving our country. His injuries led to paraparesis, and the PT was utilizing what I now realize was a functional electrical stimulation device. I was fortunate to witness a milestone in his recovery, as it was the first time he experienced return along the lower portion of his legs. The emotions involved in that session inspired me, and sparked my initial realization of how important the physical therapy profession is to improving the “human experience”.
So what exactly do physical therapists do? Yes, I still frequently hear, “don’t you just do massages?” The profession definitely struggles with branding, therefore it is important to relay that physical therapists help patients/clients “restore and improve motion to achieve long-term quality of life”.
The goal may be to help a patient/client:
- return to their family at home/profession/active lifestyle/hobby/previous level of function
- reach a modifed level of independence
- achieve lowest obtainable level of assist to decrease burden of care
- obtain low fall risk status
- live a pain free or managed life
- learn how to live a preventative, healthy lifestyle
^ All which involve motion ^
A lesson I obtained from the beginning that continues to remain relevant, “just listen to your patients”. Whatever the goal may be, collaborating with the patient and their family/caregivers is key to maximizing their potential outcome.
Why do I love being a physical therapist?
- inspires me when I witness my patients tackle unimaginable obstacles.
- keeps me humble as I empathize with my patient’s struggles while remaining grateful for my health and functional capabilities.
- allows me to grow and develop new knowledge with access to updated research.
- brings me joy when I observe my patients accomplish their goals, and realize I’ve played a pertinent role in their achievements.
- is versatile, allowing me to experience various conditions, settings, and age groups.
- allows me to interact with amazing people.
I’ve already learned countless lessons from my patients, and I hope that I’ve impacted them in a positive manner. There are many aspects of my profession that I look forward to exploring, so I can be the best clinician for my patients.
Happy PT Month to my fellow colleagues!
For more information on how physical therapy can help you:
Are you a physical therapist/ physical therapy assistant / physical therapy technician? What do you love about the profession?
What’s your dream profession? Are you there yet? Tell me about it.