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Raising the Bar in Rehab

New Job

Published March 1, 2012 4:30 PM by Lisa Mueller
I started a new job this week at an outpatient orthopedic facility -- quite a change from the inpatient acute ICU patients I am used to treating. I'm at the beginning again in terms of orienting to a new place, meeting new coworkers, and having to review lots of notes from my orthopedic binders. In a way, I kind of feel like a student again. Everything has to be explained to me, including the software system, how to schedule a patient and special tests to include in an evaluation. I haven't used a lot of my manual skills for almost three years, and although I intellectually know the information, I am still struggling to recall it on my own.

This new job feels like a breath of fresh air. The environment is completely different from the hospital I came from, and the change is welcomed. I am thinking differently and approaching patients differently, using skills I haven't used in a while. I'm finding ways to incorporate my acute-care treatment strategies into the outpatient setting.

I have a lot to learn, obviously. I took a CE course this weekend hosted by the Institute of Physical Art with a focus on functional mobilization, soft-tissue mobilization etc. I've also been reviewing my notes from school almost every night -- ortho and modalities seem to be the areas I need the most right now. I can't believe how quickly I've forgotten all of this stuff. It seems like it was literally yesterday when I was sweating in front of my board exam, recalling the smallest detail of information to get the questions right. Funny to think it was actually almost three years ago. Time flies.

Transitioning from acute care to outpatient orthopedics will definitely take some time before I am up and running on my own, but it was the right move for me to make in my career. Had I waited any longer, it would have been that much harder to remember all the treatment strategies, special tests and other skills that this different setting requires. I'm really looking forward to becoming better at treating orthopedic patients, improving my manual skills and my differential diagnoses with new patient scenarios.

Of course, there are things I miss. Acute care was busy with a fairly demanding pace. Although our outpatient schedule has a few overlapping patients every day, when one of them cancels it can be pretty slow - at least for now during my orientation time, when I don't have any other projects or things to get done. I'm adjusting to those differences. The thing I miss most from my old job? My coworkers. They were, and are, an incredible group of people. I'm also looking forward to getting to know my new coworkers, too.

Have you ever made a career switch to a different setting? How did you adjust?


I am about to make a change as well.  I've been in pediatrics for 14 years and I am going into acute care (a few hours a month, easing my way in).  I was just a little stagnant and needed a change.  You are right about everything that you forget (I think it's in there somewhere).  I'm looking forward to the change.

Debby, physical therapy - DPT March 9, 2012 9:39 AM
Brick NJ

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