Member Highlights, scholarship recipient

My Journey to Pelvic Health Physical Therapy

My name is Katie Ruebush and I am a PT in very rural West Central Illinois. I’ve been practicing for over 8 years as a generalist with a specialty in Women’s Health. About six months ago, I switched jobs and am now working primarily with patients with pelvic floor dysfunction in an OB/GYN office.

I have always been passionate about women’s health. This stems from being a feminist from a very young age. Growing up and working on our family farm, my parents expected me to do the same work and the same jobs as my older brother, it didn’t matter that I was female. Looking back, working alongside my dad, grandfather, brother, and mother really instilled a feeling of equality and confidence as a child, adolescent, and young adult. I have also always been a female athlete. Athletics have definitely shaped who I am and drove me to pursue a degree in physical therapy.

I stayed in the midwest for graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis. While there, I was fortunate to learn from pioneers of physical therapy and specifically in Women’s Health PT. I did a clinical in Women’s Health PT at Rush Hospital in Chicago, and then I was hooked. I was amazed how the interventions we were using resulted in such significant reduction in symptoms. As I continue to improve my skills and technique, I am constantly in awe of how the movement, musculoskeletal, and nervous system connect and impact the pelvic floor. We are in the unique position to treat our patients in a holistic manner, work together with other healthcare professionals, and advocate for our patients’ wellbeing.

Helping clients not only reach their goals, but feel empowered to control their symptoms, is so satisfying. I love being a part of clients’ big milestones such as pregnancy, the postpartum period, and peri and postmenopause. Improving symptoms like urinary incontinence, nocturia, and dyspareunia can improve the patient’s social life and relationships. What we are doing is bigger than just improving symptoms; by improving pelvic symptoms, a patient’s social life and relationships can be made better. I recently saw a patient for an evaluation for urinary frequency and incontinence. She returned one week later for her first follow up appointment and the first thing she said to me was, “You have changed my life!” What a wonderful gift we have as pelvic PTs to have this kind of effect on the lives of our clients.

I’m honored to be a part of a community of compassionate and driven pelvic health physical therapists dedicated to improving the quality of the lives of our patients. I am grateful for a network of women all over the country and world who are always willing to answer questions, problem solve, and help make me a better clinician.

Author: Katherine Ruebush, PT

Author Bio: I am a pelvic floor PT in rural Illinois, seeing inpatient obstetric and outpatient pelvic health patients in an OB/GYN office. Katherine is also a 2022 APTA Pelvic Health scholarship recipient.

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