OK so heres the good news, if I win the lottery I’m still coming back to work. Lets face it, odds are if I win anything it will be a scratch off and I’ll have to come back to work regardless. But I’m talking about the big one. The Mega. The jackpot. If I ever hit it that big, I’m STILL coming back to work on Monday, albeit with quite a few more pair of running sneakers than I already own, but there’s a good reason why. Full disclosure, the following will make me sound like a complete fanboy, and for good reason. I mean c’mon, everyone has their own motivations right? The bar was set pretty high for me and I’ve been doing my best to bring that standard of care back home to the Hudson Valley. Happy reading.
When I was in my last year of grad school, I was fortunate enough to be placed on rotation at Hospital For Special Surgery in their sports rehab facility- what I considered to be the gold standard for orthopedic and sports medicine. I had begged for this chance, to be in a large teaching hospital. A network of healthcare professionals whose main objectives were providing the highest level of care and continuing education. Everyone had their own role from surgeon and nurse to physical therapist, strength coach, and massage therapist. It was a well-oiled machine. There were two mornings a week where the departments shut down and I would get hit with knowledge bombs left and right. One day we would watch the surgeons give mock debates over a technique, and then the staff therapists would review current treatment models to supplement the surgical approach. The next would be the rehab department alone to review case studies and current literature. A value was decidedly placed on continuing education.
I was even fortunate enough to experience one of those rare “exact” moments where I gained confidence in my skills as a clinician. I was doing a chart review when a surgeon in his scrubs was pointed in my direction. He was checking on the status of one of his post-op cases. We had a conversation and he asked me what I thought about their progress and if they were ready to advance in their protocol. I was blown away that a world-class surgeon was not only discussing this case with me, a student, but was asking my opinion and letting me have the final word. And then it hit me; that was the exact reason why this facility was as successful as it was. There was a mutual respect from one person to the next and a confidence that the job was in capable hands. It didn’t matter that I was “just a PT” or even a student; I was a member of the rehab staff and that was enough. This was a daily occurrence. We would be checking in with the strength coaches, speaking with the massage therapists on staff, or bouncing ideas off of one another. That kind of support doesn’t make it feel like a team, it makes it feel like you have an army. See why I’m such a fanboy? After my few months in NYC, I finally had a vision of the type of approach I wanted to bring home.
The cohesion and respect from one department to another was what blew me away yet also made me realize how much conflicting interest there exists outside of that setting. It is unfortunately a pitfall in modern healthcare where so many professionals are fighting for a piece of the pie. For me, and at least for us in our clinic, that doesn’t phase us. There’s enough (pizza) pie to go around. I truly believe healthcare should be a team approach, and that’s how we practice at Feldman Physical Therapy & Performance. Physical therapist, MD, massage therapist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, nurse, nutritionist, strength coach etc. Chances are our clients are active and seeing any number of healthcare professionals, Allied Health, or other. Its important to respect one another because we’re all playing in the same sandbox with the same objective, to provide the BEST possible outcomes for our clients and neighbors. I do what I do very well, and I also know what I don’t know. Did I lose you there? In all seriousness, each of us healthcare professionals have our own expertise and I find myself lucky to be in an area with so many qualified complementary practitioners. Knowing and respecting each other only makes us better able to serve our community. I’m thankful I get to collaborate with as many specialists as I do.
In my opinion, I think it’s this willingness to get along with and trust so many other health care providers that has helped garner us the reputation we have. It also allows us to operate under our preferred treatment model and continue to be very successful. Trust me, I know a lot of PTs who think they know way more than they actually do, and think they should be the one stop shop. Look no farther than social media. Thats doing our profession and our healthcare system a disservice. On any given day I’m texting/emailing my non-PT colleagues about clients we share, and you know what…the ones who appreciate it the most are the clients themselves. They feel better cared for knowing they have a team of people behind them who are on the same page and covering them from all angles. At that moment, it’s the client who feels like they have an army. ::Mic drop::
So where does all this fit in with me winning the lottery? ::picks the mic back up:: While I might be doing more virtual check ins from a Caribbean backdrop, I’d be more psyched than ever to come back to the office. Except the office would be much bigger, have a built in pizza oven, and have a lot more clinicians. One of each. Or Two of each. Whatever works. The best of the best. PT, OT, Chiro, Massage, Acupuncture, MD, Yoga, Pilates, etc. You name it, I’d find a way to make it work, no cost spared. It would also be mandatory for us to accompany you on your vacations so you don’t miss your homework. Sacrifices we’d be willing to make! Think of a healthcare mega team, with cool shirts. It would be the ultimate club and you’d all be on the list. So all we need now is a winning lotto ticket and I’m happily accepting any and all donations.
Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed this little bit of black and white. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out with comments or questions, or even good beer recommendations.
This particular post goes out to all of my favorite healthcare pros, strength coaches, and my former CI down at HSS. Lets keep this good thing going!