I often get asked for advice from newer or future grads in various professions, PTs, DCs, MTs, ATCs, etc. I thought I would get advice from 5 of my colleagues who have been practicing for greater than 10 years.
1) Mike Reinold
Keep an open mind and never stop learning. In reality there are flaws in all of the different models of physical therapy. Don't get locked into one thought process or you'll spend more time defending your belief than allowing yourself to grow. Challenge yourself to always have a rationale behind everything you do, but keep that rationale current based on what we know today, it should always be evolving.
The most important thing that you can do in the first few years of school is to gain knowledge of how to be a physical therapist via differential diagnosis/examination courses. After your skills get to the point of being able to effectively and accurately diagnose and determine prognosis, then I would move into more specific skill acquisition courses. Finally, do not get so backed into a corner on "evidenced based" practice. Evidence is very important, but it is not the only thing that can guide practice. Logic, science, anatomy, and experience should never be overlooked. Not proven is not the same as proven not.
- Find a mentor/master clinician in the field of physical therapy who you can shadow
- Spent a considerable amount of time with folks outside of PT who are also leaders in their respective fields
- Revel in the fundamentals
- Deliver sensible care
- Never violate the RTF Rule when delivering care - Rush to Failure
- Practice the drills and exercise that you prescribe to patients - if you cant do the movement dont expect your patient to
- Read one journal article a week
- Be selective and strategic with your communication with patients (mitigate threat)
- Be interested and interesting.
- Remember that novice athletes are typically more fragile
- Aim to build a rich repertoire of variable and refined movement
- Don't get hung up with everything you find on the table as a predictor of how someone will move
- If a client has phenomenal ROM they better have phenomenal strength
- Always remember that you are only as good as your last injury and the extent to which you rehabbed it
- Remind your clients of the body's affinity to heal itself.
- Love what you do. Our jobs fill a large part of our lives, and in order to create change in our athletes and clients, we need to be at our best. The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe in and what you love. Find an environment that you love and run with it.
- Master the basics. The difference between an expert and a novice is that the expert is much better and more effective at basic tasks and fundamental skills. Good assessment and sound treatment will always be more powerful when executed to mastery.
- Surround yourself with people who are skilled and passionate. Whether consciously or subconsciously, the people we spend time with heavily influence our paths in life. Find high performing industry and non-industry folks to spend time with. Their passion and mindset will positively influence you and ultimately your patients.
- Own your manual therapy skills. The future of our profession lies in our ability to create changes through manual therapies. Exercise is a commodity. Well performed exercise is valuable. Good manual therapy techniques are priceless.
- Don't settle. Taking away our patients symptoms is important, but it is NOT enough. Our practice should help improve's our patients life capacity. The game is behavior modification. Our patients should leave your practice with the skills necessary to improve their fitness, mindset and nutrition. Don't let good get in the way with great.
- Following a model, the evidence, even science all come a distant second to the patient being satisfied by feeling and moving better. How or why "it" worked can never be proven, and sometimes doesn't even matter.
- When we scrape it all away, every one of us stresses the human system in hopes that it adapts predictably.
- Anything can work for anybody, and nothing works for everybody.
- Injury is undesirable adaptation or failure to stress. Fitness is resiliency to stress. Fitness solves everything before it happens.
- Defining fitness? Now that's a whole another story.
- All solutions fall under Movement, Output, Readiness, and Sensory Systems. The best interventions solve more than one of these barriers to success.
Find a mentor. I did not always have the best clinical affiliations, but your education does not stop at graduation. If you want to be an amazing clinician, work on your clinical reasoning, prior to developing a large tool box. You should always be able to explain why you chose a particular assessment and treatment to the patient and yourself. The most important part of the patient experience is positive interaction, and the home exercise program to reinforce whatever you did that visit.
Keeping it Eclectic...