Working for a hospital puts therapists in direct contact with physicians and most specifically orthopedic surgeons. This is where excellent therapeutic skills come into play as well as developing professional friendships with the MDs, who hopefully will guide patients to your clinic once you open it.
Now the professional etiquette part - once you open your own clinic and are in direct competition with your old employer, is it alright to "steal" patients? What if you simply changed employers and had developed a large caseload, is it ethical to "take" your patients with you to your new employer? I have not seen anything in state rules and regulations, so apparently it is legal.
The patients can make up their own minds in regard to where they want to receive rehab services; however, a patient can easily be swayed by the skills of the therapist. Should the therapist dissuade patients from following him or should the employer have each therapist sign a non-compete agreement? What do you think?