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Raising the Bar in Rehab


Published April 3, 2014 1:08 PM by Lisa Mueller

Have you read ADVANCE blogger Allison's post this week about her first resignation from a physical therapy job? It sparked a lot of comments (mostly about the PTA role), but it also got me thinking about her comment on "greener pastures."

We all often consider the pros and cons of various employment opportunities, like any other profession outside of physical therapists. I remember two years ago thinking about my commute time, skills I would be able to practice, scheduled hours and my colleagues when I made the switch from inpatient to outpatient. Now as a rehab supervisor, I'm much more conscious of the rehab team's engagement, morale, and overall satisfaction with their jobs. Patients like to be cared for by therapists who like their jobs. We've all had experiences with an unhappy staff member in any setting and know our experience as a customer or patient was impacted.

My mom recently told me, "The grass is greener where you water it" -- a saying I'm sure she heard or read from someone else. Does this ring true to physical therapy jobs? Can physical therapists invest time and energy into making their own job a place they want to be?

When I first started working as a physical therapist, I was so motivated and felt such a surge of independence -- my years of education had finally culminated in an actual profession, including a job which gave me a paycheck! I was so excited to work, I didn't really stop. After about a year-and-a-half I was very burnt out. My energy was gone, I had a hard time concentrating and an even harder time connecting with my patients as I normally did. When it happened, I was surprised and felt badly because I knew my patients deserve better than that. It was a good learning lesson for me -- to recognize the signs of over-working so I could take a step back and pace myself.

What do you think? Are you a happy employee? What do you do each day or week to make sure you stay balanced? If you don't get what you want or need from your job, what steps do you take to get it?

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I was lucky enough to have one Boss who was a skilled mentor. Under her leadership, I learned many effective management skills and had the opportunity to interview and hire a number of staff.

I will never forget the comment her young daughter made about the old adage 'the grass is greener' . . .

               Same grass -- different weeds.

Keep in mind that wherever you go, you take yourself.

Irene, PT - Supervisor, VACIHCS April 11, 2014 12:55 PM
Des Moines IA


We have to know when to walk away from an employer that cannot or will not offer what we are looking for even after "watering it".  I have left good employers because I saw limited room for growth and complacency with treatments as well as a lack of motivation to change the environment.  

I have also stayed with employers that offered me very little in clinical development only because I could work closer to home.  

Jason Marketti April 6, 2014 12:29 PM

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