My 1st Year in Practice & Helpful Tips for Early-Professionals
As a new professional, you have the ability to bring enthusiasm and energy into your physical therapy practice and your coworkers and colleagues will respond to that. Come into work every day with a big smile and new ideas for ways to reach your patients. You need to be able to connect with them on an emotional level and understand what plan of care will work for them. My biggest mistake early on was giving my patients too many exercises for home. I had all these ways to make them better and tried to show them everything I knew. For most patients, this is horribly overwhelming and they need slow and steady progressions of care. I’d like to share a few tips with you.
- Simplify the homework! Look for the best “bang for your buck” exercises. For example, I love giving out modified lizard pose with thoracic rotation 10x each side because in one exercise I can affect adductors, hip flexors, and thoracic mobility. I have also recently launched an Inner Dynamics PT Youtube channel so I can record free content and provide another learning medium for our patients. Use technology to your advantage! We don’t have to handwrite out programs all the time. Get creative and use the power of the Internet to increase efficiency. In the next few weeks our new website will launch that will include all our videos and other resources.
- Always surround yourself with people smarter than you and make sure to take care of yourself. I tell all my patients that when Alison and I first opened our practice, all my pelvic pain returned and I was miserable and stressed. Alison and I did not schedule lunch breaks our first year of practice, we cleaned our own office, and we took home the laundry every night. We were so good at taking care of everyone but ourselves. I am starting to find a balance that works for me. We now have at least 30 minutes for lunch, and I try to sneak outside for part of it to get some sunshine. I just signed myself up for a massage membership so I go once a month. I changed my hours to start at 9 am so I can get my workout in before I treat anyone. I scheduled several vacations this past year so I have time away from the office to disconnect and be in nature. Self love is imperative! Put the oxygen mask on yourself before you turn and help others.
Staying Active After Graduation
As an early-professional PT, I made sure to keep my momentum after I graduated, and despite being knee-deep in opening up Inner Dynamics Physical Therapy with Alison, I continued to stay active in the SOWH. I volunteered to be a member of the Name Change Task Force and continued to attend CSM. I kept networking at conference happy hours and met as many pelvic therapists as possible. I was sent by the SOWH to the March on Capitol Hill in DC to lobby for positive changes for therapists and our patients. I finished up my coursework with Pelvic Floor II and III, and took many other courses to bolster my knowledge base for my patients.
I also got involved with weightlifter Katie M., otherwise known as “The Lifting Librarian” by treating her coccyx pain and incontinence issues, and then last year sponsored and traveled with her to University Nationals in Florida, where she took home 6 gold medals. She and I remain close and are working together to try and change the myth in weightlifting and crossfit circles that peeing during workouts is acceptable. Stay tuned, we have a high profile article coming out soon! Through Katie, I had the opportunity to meet Michael McKenna, a fabulous weightlifting coach based out of Stewartstown, PA who motivated me to get my USA Weightlifting 1 Certification. He also recently invited me down for a Pelvic Health for Performance seminar at his gym, where I got the opportunity to teach and help many higher level athletes.”
Stay tuned for “Part IV: Launching a Physical Therapy Clinic”
Tamra Wroblesky, PT, DPT, is co-owner and pelvic health physical therapist at Inner Dynamics Physical Therapy in Ocean City, NJ. She was the former SSIG president of the SoWH and is on the Name Change Task Force. Prior to moving her pelvic pain advocacy to the treatment room, she shared her recovery from pelvic pain on her blog, Sky Circles, and in Pelvic Pain Explained, a book about pelvic health physical therapy. In addition, her pelvic pain story has been featured on MTV’s mini-documentary show “Real Life.” [firstname.lastname@example.org]