The thing to remember, as Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapists, we are medical professionals and, as such, we will see things. Some more than others, and depending on what environment you choose, and some more devastating than others. But we will see falls, 911 calls, strokes, serious injuries, serious complications, sometimes neglect, sometimes abuse, and sometimes unspeakable things that you don’t want to discuss. The thing is that is just sometimes. But ALL OF THE TIME, we will see PEOPLE! People with feelings, emotions, perspectives, mental challenges that we may not be aware of! ALL OF THE TIME our patients are people! Educated or uneducated, motivated or not, kids or adults, 27 or 97…. they are people! And as such, they deserve the utmost respect and empathy and compassion.
Therapists face a difficult reality in today’s healthcare field! In some cases we are disrespected, misunderstood, overlooked, and underutilized. In most cases, we are significantly under reimbursed and our billing/treatment is scrutinized for no reason. But it is the reality we face and we have a choice. The choice is what do we do? Do we go to battle with the health care field to show what we are capable of? OR do we rise up and prove what we are capable of?
I always say that my goal is to leave someone a little better than I found them (each time I see them). This may be making them laugh in a difficult time, showing them I care about their aches, pains, struggles, etc… Listen to your patients, hear them (truly hear them), ask questions, respect their privacy, modesty, and cultural backgrounds, and communicate with their doctors. This communication will earn you/us the respect we deserve. But without proving you are capable and worthy of that respect, you are not going to get it.
With this, my challenge to you is to put your degree and expertise aside. Realize that each time you meet a patient, physical, colleague, you have to earn their respect from square 1. Go to work and treat every patient like they are family. Respect them! Have compassion! And work to leave them a little better then they were when you started your session! The days of intimidating leadership are a thing of the past! Join the movement to inspire! Motivate! And drive clinical change throughout our professions!
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