It's Getting Personal
I have the type of job that requires me to get close with my patients. Let me clarify... it is a physical closeness. I think we can all agree that regardless of our PT setting, our profession involves a lot of physical interaction with our patients. I've often seen many therapists using their own shoulders against the leg of their patient to stretch out an ACL. We often use our hands on patients' hips with gait training to emphasize the correct movement. Compared to more traditional office jobs, it is undeniable we have a physical connection with our patients.
Despite this, I have always been able to keep a professional distance, an emotional space between myself and my patients. I typically do not get very personal during my therapy sessions and I try to keep my conversations lighthearted. Because I work in an acute-care setting where the outcomes and longevity of my patients often are not very optimistic, I usually keep my knowledge of a patient's background to the most very basic.
So, when I have a patient who brings out my human side and reminds me of the very reasons why I am a therapist... I am a little caught off guard. I had a patient recently who made more progress in one session than I had ever imagined and it brought me to tears! While I was surprised by my patient's steps forward (literally), I was even more surprised by my emotion.
I'd love to hear your stories - your growth as a therapist, your connections with your patients. Please leave your comments below!