Which Patient Would You Rather Have?
One of the other PT bloggers on the ADVANCE team wrote last week about not getting along with one of his patients. His perspective on the relationship between patient and therapist made me think about all the situations we encounter at work. There are times when I try to alter my conversation style to better fit the needs of the patients, and there are some times when the conversation flows very naturally. Just like personality types, there are some diagnoses I prefer over others and certain age groups I seem to click with better than others.
I remember when I first started my career and a patient commented on how young and naive I was. I had commented on how much progress she was making despite her lengthy hospital stay (she also had multiple comorbidities). She shrugged off my compliment. While I thought my optimism was a strength, it had obviously bothered my patient more than it had helped.
Have you ever thought about your preferences in patient types? Often our answers can help us recognize our biases and help prevent misconnections.
Do you prefer:
● A confused patient or an oriented one?
● A younger patient or older?
● An optimist or a pessimist?
● An introvert or an extrovert?
● A chronic back patient or the acute stroke?
That is one of the joys of being a new graduate working in the physical therapy field - not knowing your preferences. Each patient is a chance to learn more about your style of therapy and an opportunity to enhance your skills at establishing rapport. Early in your career there are a few interactions that will define your specialty and the fun part is enjoying the journey that brings you there.