What do the best PTs, DCs, MTs, strength coaches, and personal trainers have in common? They all spend 1 on 1 time with their patients/clients. I've had patients tell me (when at other clinics) after 3 times/week for 10 weeks or more, they knew their exercises so well, they were showing other patients how to do them properly. That is both disturbing and sad. In a way, it actually gets us less referrals. When I have patients try to make referrals for me, they often say, "I've tried PT and all they had me do was ride a bike, use pulleys, and do exercises for 1.5 hours." That patient now tells everyone they know, including their doctor, that PT doesn't work!
Here are some rules I developed for myself when I was managing a clinic for 10 years. They are even more relevant now that I'm not a salaried employee!
1) EVERYONE gets 1 on 1! If I have to double book, I start someone exercising or on heat, and work with the other person 1 on 1 for 15-20 minutes
1a) Use interns/fellows to start a patient, but always do a little with that patient, even if it is just some interaction, just to make them happy they saw "The Guy Their Doctor Recommended."
2) Say Hi to everyone, especially if they aren't your own patient!
3) Take people early if you can, but only if you're not working with someone else currently
4) Don't start anyone more than 5 minutes after their appointment time
5) Start the eval with "How are you other than the reason why you are here?"
6) Follows ups with a light shoulder touch or handshake - "How are you?" - before you ask them about their compliance!
I realize many of you out there work for employers that run you ragged. There are clinics out there that really put the emphasis on the patient, not paying for the enormous overhead of a facility that has a patient pay co-pays just to work out by themselves. If you settle, you won't be happy, and neither will your patients.