“How did you get into this?” This is a common question we receive from patients, along with “How long did you have to go to school for this?”. It’s a good question, as there are so many different paths available just within the healthcare field itself, and each one has their own requirements for education and training. It can be a long journey to become a healthcare professional, and it takes planning to know the time and effort will be worth it, so we do things like shadowing different professions to see what interests us. We are often drawn to things that resonate with us, and I’d say that’s the case for many who enter the physical therapy field. Here are some traits that are common among physical therapists.
We want to help people
This might be the most common reason people get into physical therapy as a profession. But the appeal of guiding someone through the rehab process and becoming someone your patients trust and can rely on is a rewarding feeling. Many therapists have their own rehabilitation story that inspired them to want to help others in the same way. Others experienced it while job shadowing with a physical therapist, something required to enter physical therapy school. Although it’s not unique to our profession, or even to the healthcare field, helping others is a big driver for many therapists. When you spend as much time with patients as we do, this is an important trait to have.
We like to be active
Physical therapy pairs nicely for those who want to combine a career with activity. The job requires being up and moving around when working with patients, like demonstrating exercises and movements, which is motivation to stay in shape. Activities and hobbies outside of the clinic can actually help out within the clinic as well. For example, if cycling is a hobby for a therapist, they will have firsthand knowledge that will help them when treating a cyclist. But it’s not just sports that we might have an interest in. Those in performing arts also experience their fair share of injuries, so having a therapist with similar experience can help problem solve what will be the best way to get them back on stage. Being able to pull in other things we love to do is an added bonus to helping patients get back to what they love to do.
We are lifelong learners
This one is key, and an arguably close second to the first point. With the amount of information that is available, having a natural curiosity is vital for being the best physical therapist one can be. It’s part of why we choose to continue our education beyond the initial undergrad years to get our doctorate in physical therapy. We want to know more. We go deep into anatomy and kinesiology to become experts on how the body moves. At Core, we also try to understand how the body moves together as a unit. Our other blog posts on myofascial release and craniosacral therapy go further in depth on this, but essentially, we aren’t made up of separate body parts that move independently of each other. We are complex beings, with each part working together. New research about the human body is always coming out, and being a lifelong learner helps to stay on top of this new information.
We hope this gives a glimpse into who physical therapists are and why we chose to do what we do. Of course, no two people are exactly the same, and each person brings different strengths to the table, which is part of what we are proud to offer at Core. Check out our team profile page on our website to learn more about each of our therapists!
Written by: Jordan Wachter, PT, DPT (West Des Moines Clinic)