Our Professional Identity
I've been out of work now for 2 months. I've accepted an offer of employment nearly 7 weeks ago, but the necessary bureaucratic steps needed to be taken so that I could work here in the UK. The good news is that all the papers are in order and I have a start date of November 9! I'm very excited to get working again.
I'm sure my spouse, friends and family are also happy that I'll be working again.
I don't do downtime well. Don't get me wrong, I love my vacations and I do take them. It is very different though when you're not quite sure that you have a job waiting at the end of the tunnel. Excessive downtime can make me very fidgety, anxious, and not the most pleasant of company to be with.
I've heard it said among some theater friends of mine that "an actor is only an actor if he actually has a part, otherwise he is a waiter."
When we're not actively practicing, are we still a PT? Of course I've used this time to read up on the NHS, where I'll be working, to read articles on rehab and health related topics, to stay abreast of the politics of health care both in the US and the UK, and to apply for admission to a Masters in Public Health program. However, the role that has been the center of my life for nearly 20 years, PT, has been dormant. This has caused some real identity issues.
What it brought to light for me was the impact illness has on our patients. They too have been busy with their lives which give them their identity, something happens to throw a wrench into their normal routine and they come to us to assist them in making them whole again. They want themselves back; the athlete, the writer, the musician, the mom, the dentist, the provider, the person with something to offer.
Sure, we've all learned about this in PT school and understand it on an intellectual basis. But really stop and think and feel about how would you be affected if one day, suddenly, you couldn't practice PT anymore?
What would you do?