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Toni Talks about PT Today

Feeling Good About What You Do

Published July 24, 2012 1:02 PM by Toni Patt

Last weekend I had to change a VAC. The patient's husband was anxious that the wound wouldn't heal. Nursing had made several calls to the department requesting someone take a look at it since the husband wouldn't let them touch it. By the time I arrived, everyone was anxious. I walked out of that room feeling like I had accomplished something.

Lately that has been a foreign feeling for me. I feel like I'm going through the motions at work. Most of the patients will improve no matter what I do. Others need a motivational coach more than a physical therapist. I have one person on my caseload who I feel like I'm using any skill on. Don't get me wrong. My patients are a joy to work with. They bring a smile to my face and tell me how important therapy is.

I just feel like I'm losing my skills. I'm not as sharp as I once was. I'm afraid I'll miss something if a CVA patient is admitted to the facility. For many years, my focus was learning as much about stroke patients as I could so I could be a better therapist. I took classes. I earned an advanced degree. I worked extra for the experience. I was good at what I did.

Now I'm torn. I know what I do is still important. I'm helping the people I work with. I just feel like I didn't do anything useful by the end of the day. I find myself living a paradox. I know I'm doing good but I'm not working hard to accomplish it so I feel like I haven't done anything.

The answer is for me to redesign my paradigm. I have to make myself understand there are different kinds of good in this world. Not all of them require hard work and struggle to accomplish. My goals need to change from work to riding. Next year one of my horses will be ready for nationals. I need to work on getting him there.

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