Let’s Work Together So We Are A Team
My patients often inspire me to continue in my career as a PTA. Many times I have contemplated quitting, retiring, vanishing from the "therapy scene", only to reappear, rejuvenated by one or more of the patients I have seen.
One patient in particular, Mr. R appeared depressed, he was alone, and debilitated. He would thank each one of us for our efforts and would often wheel himself to and from the physical therapy gym. One day he began a discussion of religion with me, not a particular religion but a discussion of God and the Bible.
As we know religion and politics are topics we usually avoid lest one or more of us become offended. But Mr. R asked me to pray for him right there in the middle of the gym.
As he left I wondered how far each one of us will go to ensure our patients receive the best from us. Not only am I speaking of the therapy sessions, but the qualities we possess such as, listening, debating, questioning, those qualities that get us to understand others better, those qualities that make up who we are. Some patients like to debate, they enjoy a stimulating discussion on topics that we in health care usually avoid, Mr. R wanted religion, should I have denied his request?
By working together with our patients we can make a more complete team to reach our goals. Patients may not remember the therapy sessions but they will remember how well is was provided and that includes the conversation during the activity.
I do not suggest we become adamant on our whole belief systems or debate the merits of controversial subjects but a friendly discussion of a patient's background may allow us to better understand our patients as well as their motivation for their well being. This can also stimulate other patients to voice their opinions on the subject in which we become a moderator all the while encouraging them to finish the exercise and gait routines.
The veterans of WWII will sometimes describe events and places they have been in Europe or in the Pacific and this will often lead to questions and other patients telling their stories about their experiences in life and how it has affected them in later years. I have seen patients from all sides of that war from German pilots to an American 101st airborne paratrooper to an Auschwitz survivor and from each one I have learn a little bit more on compassion, understanding, and forgiveness, those qualities that make us human, the qualities that make us a team.