Our daily routines often get so busy that we overlook the needs of those around us, besides our patients and their families. At any given time, we as physical therapists may be able to extend a gracious hand to assist others, while reaping the benefit of satisfaction knowing that we continue to help, outside our work environment. This is why many of us entered the field of rehabilitation, to help others. Physical therapy continues to be an excellent career choice. At times, however, we may feel the consequences of "burnout" and need an ongoing recharge to keep us active.
Returning to the books to study for a doctorate is definitely one method to combat fatigue. Utilizing patients for case studies, discussing topics with peers, and sharing knowledge can be motivating to others and well as ourselves. At the end of the day (or during time off), however, this energy can be sustained by extending graciousness to those in need. It's the right thing to do, it's part of our commitment to others and it happens every day.
As I look around where I am today, energy and generosity surround me. The skill set of my peers has allowed them to use it for the advantage of others. For example, next weekend is the Annual Walk for Autism in our area, and our health care system has a large number of employees who support this event. I consider the leader to be an occupational therapist at my facility (who, as a matter of fact, will be receiving her master's degree this May).
There is a physical therapist who was born and raised in Haiti, has raised money for his trips back home, and has taken collections of shoes/toiletries with him when he returns to share his help with those physically affected by the tragedy of an earthquake. By the way, he is studying for his manual certification/doctorate degree. A physical therapist assistant, who has energy like no one else, had taken up a collection in the department to purchase a wheelchair cushion for a middle-aged spinal cord patient with no insurance. She is now active on our spinal cord team, recently started a support group at our facility for teenagers with special needs and is starting new friendships within that group. This PTA is working and studying, with the hopes of returning to school to become a physical therapist.
Another physical therapist who studied music in Louisiana became involved in raising money for a music school for the underprivileged in New Orleans. The instruments were lost during Hurricane Katrina, and this PT raised money for a cause near and dear to his heart. This PT arranged a fundraising event at a local hangout, and his band played music well into the night. He is, by the way, in school studying for his doctorate. I'm beginning to think the people I work with are competing for the most community involvement. Big hearts, smart people. Every single one of them.
Essentially, generosity and graciousness surround us. It can be uplifting, though difficult at times. The benefits of providing assistance to others during our "free time" are numerous, as well as inspiring to others. Consider what gifts you have to offer others, and educate yourself about the needs of your community. Getting involved will motivate and inspire, and what you contribute will come back to you, full circle.
What community projects have you been involved in?