Reflecting on National PT Month and the PT Profession

October of each year is National Physical Therapy Month – an annual opportunity to recognize the PT profession’s efforts to “transform society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience.” (APTA President Sharon Dunn). It’s a time that we as PT’s reflect on the ways that we are improving the health, mobility, and quality of life of each of our patients.

Our own Scott Hannigan put his own thoughts down on what being at PT – and National Physical Therapy Month – means to him.

Physical therapists are the true specialists in the healthcare field when it comes to diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal injuries. We are the movement and exercise specialists in dealing with the daily function of the human body.

What brings me joy as a PT is to get to know each individual patient as an individual. They are not labeled when they walk in the door as another ankle, knee, or low back patient. Jane Doe is Jane Doe who comes in with low back pain. She is different from Mike Smith who also has low back pain. Each individual walks in our door with different ways of life and daily function. They are limited by an injury or pain that has caused disruption in their daily life. Whether it be limitations at work, home, recreation or all of the above, I take pride in getting to know each individual’s limitations, how it is affecting their life, and what their goals are with physical therapy.

As a PT, we often are spending a few hours a week with our patients, and we have the opportunity to really get to know them on a personal level. I enjoy hearing about their families, work, a softball game with friends, a recent travel experience, or that their dog tries to do every exercise with them. Getting to know each patient for who they are helps build a strong working relationship to get them better faster. All treatment plans are individualized to fit that patients’ needs and put them on a fast track to recovery. It is that personal relationship that builds trust, and that combined with physical therapy skills and services is what truly helps patients to get better and achieve their goals with therapy.

Being a PT gives me tremendous joy and pride. I enjoy having a job where I can work with many different people all day long, and help them get back to living a healthier, active, and most importantly pain free and functional life. There is nothing more enjoyable then saying goodbye to your patient on that final day, knowing they are better and they are going back to all those things that make them happy – those things that have been topics of conversation over the course of their treatment. It is bitter sweet to see them go, but as I tell each patient, we have the same goal: to get you to walk out of my office that final time, feeling good, and not having to come back, able to go back to that life that they have wanted for some time, not having to deal with pain or injury. I am always here if things come up in the future and want to be that go to person to help after injury, but I hope they don’t need it and that it is their friend, neighbor, or family member in need who comes in to see me next.

I like to hear “Jane Smith sent me here and said you were amazing!” It makes me feel good knowing someone achieved their goals and felt so good or excited to tell someone else to come in.

We’re proud to be Brunswick (Maine) and Greater Brunswick’s go-to for physical therapy. Located on the Brunswick Landing, we’re here to get you healthy – and happy – once again! If you’re in need of physical therapy services, do not hesitate to contact us today!