Passion and Commitment Play a Primary Role In Your Physical Therapy
What makes a difference is not book knowledge alone. It is the effect of passion and commitment on providing the best possible service to the consumer.
Twenty-four years ago, I started my quest to make a difference. To rise above the status quo. To provide value. To give consumers a choice between mediocrity and excellence, not just in treatment but in service. My dad, who worked in sales for the food industry, taught me that my customers were my greatest asset, so I devoted myself and my business to make them my top priority. To treat them the way I taught my children to treat others–with respect and as they would like to be treated. To treat them as if they were family.
It is on these foundations that I have built Family Physical Therapy Services (FPTS). Providing excellent care is not only about what we know, but who we are. Any business can state they “have the best” this, “know the most” that, or “provide expertise” about this other thing, or any number of clichés. But do they all treat you as they wish to be treated? Do they have the same level of commitment, compassion and drive to do more for you because they truly care about you?
As the business grew, I realized I couldn’t treat everyone myself. Because I believe that truly caring about people is so important, when hiring clinicians I not only look at where they went to school, their continuing education courses or advanced certifications, but I look for this shared passion during the interview process.
What my father knew instinctively and from experience has been studied over the years since I started the business. “The working rapport or positive social connection between the patient and therapist” (Physical Therapy April 2014 vol. 94 no. 4 477-489) is formally known as the “Therapeutic Alliance” and is made up of “a complex interplay of technical skill, communicative competence, and the reflexive capacity of the therapist to respond to the patient in the moment of therapy” (Disabil Rehabil 2011 vol. 33 872–881). It has been shown to have positive effects across several disciplines including medicine, psychotherapy, and physical therapy (e.g., Enhanced Therapeutic Alliance Modulates Pain Intensity and Muscle Pain Sensitivity in Patients With Chronic Low Back Pain: An Experimental Controlled Study). So, being treated as you would like to be treated not only feels good but makes your body feel good, too. Dad was right!
The research also issued a warning of sorts. The patient-clinician “relationship may be an important influence on patients’ health outcomes and must be taken into account in light of current changes in the health care delivery system that may place this relationship at risk” (Medical Care 1989 vol. 27 no. 3). And those words were written in 1989 (at about the same time I started the business)!! Do you think the additional changes to health care in the last 25 years have created more or less risk to this relationship? Because it takes time to get to know somebody, their condition and what is important to them, this is why I’ve remained committed to offering longer treatment times for patients despite the financial pressures, and industry standard, to offer shorter appointments.
What separates the best PT’s from the rest isn’t necessarily the depth of their knowledge. The most effective therapists incorporate social- and relationship-based information about their patient into their treatment that is derived from passion and commitment to truly understanding all aspects of a patient’s life and history. How we greet, approach, and relate to our patient, and how we understand cause and effects of outside factors such as work, family, stress, etc. help customize the best possible treatment. We do not live in a bubble – not every solution from a book or lesson can be applied across all situations, and it is the ability of a practitioner (PCP, specialist, etc.) to think on their feet, outside the box, and build a complete picture of a patient that truly brings results. Passion and commitment on the part of the PT helps form that bond or relationship with patients.
The best of the best put you first. They are loyal to you and your needs. You should feel that loyalty, and the question of “who are they working for, themselves or me?” should never enter your mind. So choose wisely my friends!