My final day at Memorial Hospital West (MHW) outpatient rehabilitation has arrived. After 20 years of practice, the day has arrived when I'll walk out the doors as a senior physical therapist. This is where I practiced, learned, experienced, and enjoyed every patient and family. Most importantly, it's where I learned I had a much larger family than I could ever imagine. Many of my coworkers and I experienced major milestones in our lives together, including the births of our children, illness, marriage, divorce, buying homes and of course, attending graduate school together. We have celebrated the accomplishments of our patients, as well as our own personal accomplishments.
There has clearly been a major emphasis on pursuing a higher education and certification among PT, OT and ST, which has been inspired by ourselves, but most importantly, by an amazing director. She has always encouraged, supported and implemented a transition to meet our professional goals, and this may be one of the most difficult things I encounter on my last day, leaving MHW because of the amazing leadership of Debra Lessard, DPT.
Originally, I started the plan to begin my DPT transition four years ago. Although it was a tumultuous time for myself, personally, at least the plan was started. Instead, with the support of those around me, including my coworkers, director and children, I decided in 2010 that it was time to get the ball rolling again. Life was very busy in 2010, and I found that as I took on more responsibility professionally and personally, I could handle whatever came my way.
Signs were all around me that this was what I needed to do, especially as new graduates with DPTs came to our center for clinical affiliations. Their knowledge was definitely different, and this triggered within me a need to learn more, so I could understand "why we do what we do." Recalling the moments before deciding to take the journey for my DPT, my mentor had light words for me: "You don't know what you don't know." This sounded absurd at first, but as I listened to conversations of DPTs, I had no idea what I was missing. At this point in the program, the DPT is about putting it all together, making sense of it all and explaining the rationale for doing what we do (just to name a few).
Years later, as opportunities present themselves to me, I'm jumping on the bandwagon to accept (within reason) the challenges that face me, to make rehabilitation a success for our patients and practitioners. All of this while I save the world and raise my daughters (shaking my head - I don't know how I do it either).
On Monday, Jan. 28, 2013, I'll be transitioning to a new facility in my healthcare system, under the tremendous leadership of an amazing therapist I've known for years. I'm excited to get to know new therapists, meet up again with those I've known for years as well, and support every staff member as I feel I have done in the past. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said so well, "If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values -- that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control."