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The Power of Change

05/02/2011, 10:45pm EDT
By Jessica Thomas, PT, DPT

Necessary Change

This weekend I found myself wondering how a patient tolerated her jog. Yesterday in the shower, I imagined rotator cuff tendinitis impeding my ability to lather and rinse. This morning in the car, I tested an active lateral cervical stretch to determine if, yes, you can in fact exercise while driving. A quick look at my bank statements will tell you I’m a student, but it is moments such as these that prove that I am a PT student.

In about two weeks, however, I will be stripped forever of this designation that has been a large part of who I have been these past few years.  My fellow 2011 DPTs and I are more than ready for the next stage and some of us see graduation as the final transition. Bring on the stability (and the PAYCHECK)! I too am tired of living in the limbo that is graduate school and long for consistency. I have learned in my limited scope of practice, a concept exemplified by great therapists: stability does not permit stagnancy. I want to remind new grads and those therapists practicing already the basic premise of our profession: change is good. Change your posture, change your lifestyle habits, change your work environment, change your neuromuscular firing patterns… Dynamic environments are our life, and we have to embrace this fact. 

Learning is yet another type of change and one we can’t afford to overlook. It takes strength to continually challenge yourself, but this is a strength that is increasingly necessary in our evolving PT world. My graduation message is to therapists who were all students at one time: Retain the part of your SPT that knows how to learn and adapt. Remember how it felt when your CI threw you a curve-ball question when you’re already up to your ears in notes at the end of the day. Remember how it felt when you found the answer and were able to apply it to enhance your patient care. None of us wish we were the same therapist we were on the first day of PT school. Take a moment to reflect on the changes you’ve experienced en route to who you are today, and re-commit yourself to broadening your knowledge. 

Looking forward to my first year as a practicing therapist, my passing thoughts are more and more pervaded by typical worries about passing the boards, loan payments, and job opportunities.  But by no means do I desire or expect the changes to end.  

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