One of the most frequently asked questions I get when treating patients is, “Why did you want to be a physical therapist?” Though this is a very hard question to answer, it all comes down to being able to help individuals return to a full life. Whether that is picking up their child, competing at a high school/elite level, fixing dysfunction to decrease daily pain, or helping a child reach their milestones, there is a sense of achievement.
Spending time with each individual and really getting to know them and their passions in life helps drive their recovery and allows THEM to reach higher and exceed their own expectations. My job is to increase their confidence, to improve their physical being in order to enhance their mental being. There is nothing greater than when a patient gets off of crutches for the first time, plays soccer for the first time after a traumatic injury, or tells me they were able to play with their kids on Saturday without any pain. Everyone should have goals in life. ANY goal. We need drive. We thrive to meet, and hopefully exceed, any standards we set for ourselves. This is no different in the recovery phase, maybe more important.
However, the biggest job I have is to keep each and every patient in a positive mindset. I will rarely ask about the negatives (pain, hard times, etc), instead, overemphasis the positives. I will always find at least one change from our previous meeting to show the patient progress. This keeps things moving forward. Any recovery process is a rollercoaster ride. Ups and downs. Whether you have more ups or downs greatly depends on your mindset. STAY POSITIVE!
I also have to give credit to my family, in particular my grandmother, mom and aunts. These women do nothing but help others. Almost to a fault, saying no is not in the vocabulary. But I live by the thought that if I have the knowledge and skills to help someone, why would I not WANT to do that. I will not always have the answer, but I do have the skills to find the answer and that is something that I will do for anyone.
I love my job and the opportunities I get from being a physical therapist. My goal, one of them at least, is to always strive to be better than I was yesterday, in life and as a therapist. To push myself the way I am allowed to push patients. To give them a reason to trust in me to get them back on the field, or play with their kids, or walk again.