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What I Learned As A New Physical Therapist

I am pretty much an idealist. I like to think about all the good that can come from a situation. Sometimes I get frustrated because a different system just isn’t bringing that idealistic world together. the healthcare system is this way because it’s broken. Have you ever wanted to do something great and then come to run into all these unexpected and unnecessary road blocks? That’s what happened to me when I became a physical therapist.

Where Graduation Sent Me

After I graduated from college, I went on to pursue my doctorate in physical therapy. I knew I wanted to help people and physical therapy would allow me to do that. Because I also knew I wanted to have my own business one day, this wouldn’t be the end of college for me.

You can say physical therapy chose me or I chose physical therapy, either way, I wanted to help people. Physical therapy would allow me to help people after an injury, or surgery, or if they were having pain, or, well, pretty much anything else. Rehab had become my ideal dream.

My First Clinical Position As A Physical Therapist

I was so super stoked to start working as a physical therapist. I floated into my first job ready to conquer the world. Instead, I started facing those closed off doors real fast. I found out that I couldn’t actually use all my skills and training. I couldn’t actually help people.

My Rude Awakening

Company policies, insurance policies, healthcare policies, and other rules and regulations held me back and limited so much of what I could do.

I would get stopped and told I couldn’t help a patient develop a preventative care plan so they could avoid surgery or avoid a worsened injury or avoid having to come back to therapy.

Supervisors told me I had to see multiple people at once because that’s the way their insurance plan was set up even if those people would benefit more from one on one or hands-on therapy with my full attention.

I was pressured to increase my productivity, essentially see more patients during the day. One company I worked for required 110% productivity. Seriously! I’ve never figured out how to give more than 100% of myself! Have you?

Not only was I being limited by what I could do with patients and productivity standards that make me shake my head, we had piles of paperwork and company reports and supervisory notes and department meetings and company meetings and so much more.

It’s not that those things are bad it’s just in my heart the thing that mattered the most was the person I was trying to help. I was stuck in this viscous cycle and I didn’t know how to get out.

My own personal health declined quickly.

So, here I was, working in the healthcare system as a clinician and my health was rapidly declining. You’d think that those in healthcare would be healthy, but it’s not the case. It started out with simple colds but progressed to me getting sick more often and with more serious conditions. I knew I wanted a change but I didn’t know what to do.

I felt stuck!

Have you ever felt that way?

I’ve worked in the field for nearly 25 years. I’ve had this same conversation with therapists, nurses, doctors, and more. So many people tell me the same thing. So many tell me they feel stuck.

These amazing people want something else, but they don’t know how to do it or even what to do.

Essentially, what I learned from working in healthcare as a physical therapist is that a clinical position is not a place that allows me to grow into the best I can be, it is not where my strengths are providing the best value to the world.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t love and respect clinicians, because I DO! This just means that I have found there is a different path for me.

I started doing my own research, took additional classes and courses, and went back to school to get that business degree I knew I wanted. I became pretty clear on what I wanted for my future, and I also became more clear on what I did NOT want in my future.

Want To Know How I Left The Clinical Field?

Next, I’ll share the first steps I took to find a non-clinical career.

If you’re in a position where you feel like you’re not using your skills or you feel stuck, message me and let’s have a conversation about the possibilities. Check out my other posts.

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Keep Livin’ the Dream!

Dr. Cori

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About the Author

I'm Dr. Cori! I'm a doctor of physical therapy and I'm passionate about helping people elevate their lifestyle in three primary ways; financial health, mental health, and physical health. I take a systematic approach to life and business which makes it easier for you to learn my step by step ways to success.

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