Who was she? 

As always, she stepped into the ward and reported to her senior.. The senior said could you just treat the patient on bed no. 9? Yes of course, why not.. As she walked towards the bed, she saw the patient lying on the bed with the leg covered.. She knew it was a case of celluilitis.. 

She read the file and asked him, his complaints.. By his side, stood his wife answering all the questions.. She then said to the patient, lets get started with some exercises.. The patient agreed.. She kept asking questions answering which the wife started sobbing, complaining about all the problems.. Listening carefully to what the wife said, she replied.. Its okay it happens.. She knew well, that the patients wife needed someone who could listen.. And then there was a new speaker, it was the patient himself, for the first time, he finally opened up, to tell what all he had been feeling.. And now she listened even more carefully, which made her realise that the patients problem was in his mind.. He wasn’t stressed about his impairment, but about how he would be dealing with it.. 

      She made it her point, to make him realise how she could help him deal with his problem, listening to what, he felt content.. She then left saying, i want you to remember and do all that has been told.. 

      Next day, when she walked towards him, she saw him smiling, she knew, she was rendering the right treatment.. She asked him how do you feel, he said alot better.. She then said, i would like to see how well you remember the exercises taught. Before she could, move on, the patient said madam, I wanted to ask a question.. Yes of course, she said, go on.. He said, mam is it okay if i have a bath, as i am a bit apprehensive about the water entering the wound.. She replied, asking what was told to him by the medical professional, and he said, yes the doctor has told me have a bath, but I thought I should ask you once.. 

       Those words asking for her permission, for a query small as such, inspite of the authority, higher than her, telling him what to do, left her with nothing to speak.. She tried her best, to make him understand that he should be doing whatever he was told to do, by the doctor, without any hesitation.. 

       There she stood infront of that patient wearing that white coat, with a mindset and a badge of just a 2nd year Bpth student.. She was now,  being compared to a MD(Doctor of Medicine) by profession.. 

       She knew well that her knowledge at that level of education was not even worth the comparison.. But the way she portrayed the values of humanity was worth all the respect she was endowed with.. 

      That day she was enlightened by the fact that the respect she received was not for the white coat she wore, but the attitude she bore.. 

      Now, she knew the reason of her patients compliance.. It made her happy to see her patient remember all that was told to him.. 

      Her happiness knew no bounds, because now she exactly knew, who she wanted to be.. Her patient himself, defined her worth.. What more could she ask for? 

      All she did to get that respect was, she listened to whom, no one listened.. Cared about whom, no one cared.. 

She was the patient’s physical therapist.. And now she knew her real identity.. 

Why do i care? 

   Often people ask me, why do I go to the wards and check upon my patients regularly.. They ask me, do you get emotionally attached to your patients? And honestly I prefer to keep quiet, and let the silence answer this one.. 

   Well the truth is, its not about getting attached to a particular patient, its about caring enough about the patient you’ve been treating in the hospital for a while.. Its about checking on how their improving.. It makes me feel good to see my patients improve.. And it isn’t a sin, right? 

   It’s not about, being emotionally weak, that makes me feel my patients pain, its about me being a human.. The fact is that I’m not just a therapist, but also a human.. I agree to the fact, that getting deeply involved with a patient, so much so that, it starts affecting my personal life, isn’t a good thing for me.. But for me, it’s just that i care.. And I still have a personal life, trust me.. And guess what? This is exactly, what has helped me gain respect for that white coat that I wear.. It was never for those marks that I achieved, it was never for the treatment I gave, it was just the way I made them feel, I cared.. 

    Infact whatever I do for my Patients makes me worth their rememberance.. And this is the most precious thing for me.. If my patients could remember me for how much I cared for them, in times of their need, it makes me a successful therapist.. Thats all I know.. 

    I don’t know why, people fail to realise that a patient would understand your ability of being a great medical professional on the basis of their(patients) own knowledge.. And their knowledge is very limited in terms of their right treatment.. No matter what treatment I give, the patient would always judge me only on his/her own knowledge..

     Every therapist learns the same things and has the same amount of knowledge, leading them to get their degrees, right? 

    The question is, then why do patients prefer a particular therapist, to get themselves treated? 

   The reason is, it’s not the treatment, but the way you treat and care for the patient, that helps them judge how good you are at your job, because this is exactly the extent to what their knowledge is limited to, and that is what makes you worth their rememberance.. 

     And this is why, i check on my patients regularly, to let them know, someone cares.. And this is something they would remember me for, not for the treatment.. 

     Most of the times patients and relatives complain that no one listens and no one cares, and when I do, they value it.. I give my patients what they need.. And that’s all, that is required for them to feel better.. 

    This is what I want my patients to feel, and this is what defines my worth as a therapist in my patients mind.. That is all I care about.. 

    Where people belong to a profession same as that of mine, where the patient is the main priority, a question as such could still arise? 

    Why do you check on your patients regularly? Well because, MAY BE THATS MY JOB… 

Principles of treatment.. 

In physical therapy, patient’s with a neurological problem are often treated with respect to 4 principles

  • Mobility
  • Stability
  • Controlled mobility
  • Skill

The patients are supposed to be trained through each stage in this exact order..

According to me, we could treat every patient with these principles, but the only difference being that we change the meaning of all the 4 principles just abit.. 
Also this time, these stages would refer to the therapist rather than the patient..

Now according to the books, mobility is the first step and it works on the range of motion.. I believe, mobility is the way you treat the patient.. By the word treat, im not referring to the actual treatment but the way you treat (behave with) the patient.. 

  • Its about how you talk to the patient, to make him comfortable, when you see him/her for the first time.. 
  • Its about how easy you make it for the patient, to open up and tell you about his complaints..
  • It’s how you can actually win the trust and confidence of the patient in just few minutes of the first time you meet him..

Next is stability, in books this refers to the muscle strength, which is important to carry out function..

According to me, stability is the strength in the relationship, the therapist – patient relationship.. Now what do I mean by strength in the relationship? Basically, strength is achieved by

  • The bond you create between the patient and yourself, which is based on trust.. 
  • The trust that the patient has in you as a therapist.. How much does he trust you? Would he do everything you tell him to? This is why trust is important.. Its the basis of this relationship.. This would actually determine patient’s compliance..
  • The trust the patients relatives have in you.. This would determine how well they listen, to what you have to say and do as you say..

For stability to develop you need mobility.. Just the way you use mobility to build strength(stability) in muscles of the patient, the therapist needs to use mobility to build stability as explained above..

Stability is followed by, controlled mobility.. In the books this refers to the control of the movement… How well the patient can control the movement.. 
I believe controlled mobility refers, to the knowledge of the therapist of knowing when to do what.. By this what I mean is, the therapist should know exactly, when to control and what to control, i.e, when to push the patient upto his physical limit and when to make use of the patient’s emotions to push his own self.. It is the knowledge to be able to control the fine balance between the physical ability and the emotions of the patient to achieve his set goals..

Controlled mobility would help you build, your next step as a therapist..  

Next is skill, which refers to the ability of the patient to perform a certain complex task efficiently ..

I believe, it refers to the ability of the therapist, to achieve the goals set for the patient.. 

  • It depends upon therapist’s ability to know, how to persuade a patient who is reluctant to exercise
  • It depends on how well the therapist puts his knowledge into action to treat the patient
  • It depends on therapists ability to make use of patients emotional needs to achieve his own goals
  • It depends on therapist’s ability to be able to push the patient to his functional limits everytime, to achieve what he wants..
  • It depends on the therapist’s ability to understand where the actual problem lies, whether its in the mind or the body and then treat it..

Now the question is how do we actually make use of these principles in our practice?

Mobility can be achieved, by just conversing with the patient, making him comfortable in just a few minutes of you meeting him.. This would help you make the patient open up to tell you his exact complaints.. It is not what you do, but how you do that really matters… Just the simple way of talking to the patient, makes the difference.. Just the caring tone of your voice, when you talk to the patient, helps the patient become more comfortable and that’s exactly what you want.. 

Stability, can be achieved by just getting to know the patient well, talk to the patient, ask them questions, doesn’t have to always be about their condition, it could be about their life, their family, their work, their likes and their dislikes, it could be about how their condition makes them feel, how it has affected their lives.. This is what, helps you know them better and create that bond, and trust, which you want them to have in you.. 

Controlled mobility can be achieved by knowing when your patient, needs your help and when, you need to actually push him, by motivating him to achieve his goals.. Its about knowing how you can help your patient, without letting him be dependent on you.. The therapist should now when to support the patient, and when not to… This is something you build up on, as a therapist, with experience.. 

Lastly, skill.. Just the ability of the therapist to poke the patients emotional needs, to make him work harder determines the therapist’s skill.. Skill can be achieved with knowledge based on practice and experience.. Its not something that can be taught, its something that you as a therapist, would learn all by yourself.. Every patient is a different one, and each of them would teach you something new.. This is how you build up your skill.. It is this quality, that the patient admires you for, and the reason he would choose you, over others as a therapist and would always come to you, for treatment.. 

As a therapist, we need to start using these principles for ourselves, to be able to treat our patients better.. 

    Don’t forget to treat the human relations..

    One of the most important things we often forget as therapists is the fact that we are dealing with humans… Humans have relations… Patients we treat are usually accompanied by their relatives, because the health of the patient affects his/her relatives as well.. 

             Most of these, are the closet relatives of the patients, so anything that happens to the patient leaves a great impact on them.. The only difference is that it affects them mentally.. We as therapists, fail to realise that sitting beside the patient who is unconscious or maybe conscious but severly affected by his impairments, isn’t an easy job.. It takes alot of mental strength on the part of the relatives to control their emotions and not give up hope, by the patient’s physical condition..

             Every time I visit the hospital I wonder how hard it is for the relatives to spend days with the hope to see a change in the patients health… 

            Having realised it, i made it a point to consider it my duty to councell the relatives, along with the patients.. They are the ones who could take the best care of my Patients provided they themselves are mentally strong… I cannot be 24hrs with my Patient but they can and they do… 

             It’s takes a strong person to teach you how to be strong, isn’t it? 

             Quiet often I see relatives look up at me as an answerer to all their questions, because they are never encouraged to get their questions asked by other treating medical professionals.. Often I ask them.. What did the doctor say? And the answer is “nothing”.. For me, I like to give them the opportunity to ask, and I realised, this is when they open up… The day you ask them about any queries they might be having, they feel they can trust on you… Thats the trust I want from them.. They ask me questions because they know I have the time to answer them… And I feel good about it.. After all its their right to ask and my duty to answer every question I can… 

             It’s important to build a rapport with the relatives, get them out of that circle of mental stress they are in.. This would help you create a positive environment for your patient… 

            Making the patients and their relatives feel better, telling them how the therapy has already started showing signs of improvement in the patients is important.. This installs their confidence and trust in you… As a therapist what else do you want?

             The key is to understand that, its alot harder to wait and just keep waiting without a reason… Give your patient’s relatives the reason, and see the difference it makes.. It makes your job and their responsibility an easier task…

           You see its important to not only, treat the humans but also the human relations.. 

              

    It’s all about loving what you do.. 

               No I’m not exaggerating my feelings, but honestly, its taking me time to fall asleep these days.. When I get into bed all tired, and think about my day, all I remember, is how i made my Patients feel for the day.. Were they happy, did my presence make a difference in their lives for good? If not, what more can I do? This question, actually keeps me awake for most of the time.. 

             For all the times I’m not satisfied with the results.. I try to find answers to the why.. Why did my patient not improve? Most of the times, i come with the answers myself, but sometimes I get these answers from my seniors or my teachers.. 

            I realised, there is so much to learn and the majority of it comes from your patients

            You see, every patient is unique in his/her own way and hence the way of treating each patient is different from the other and teaches you something new..

            Your patients, teach you ways you could improve yourselves.. Trust me this is the best part.. When I started treating patients, I realised they taught me how to treat them.. They made me realise that the best way to treat them is to first imagine yourselves in their place and then ask yourselves, how would you like to be treated? The answer you would come up with, is exactly how you as a therapist should be treating your patients.. 

             My Patients, have helped me grow myself into being a better version of me… I don’t know, if this is all natural, but honestly my love for my profession, has taken me to a next level… I have started enjoying the time I’m with my Patients, so much that I don’t feel like leaving the hospital… 

            From making them stand for the first time, to the times when they open their eyes and regain their consciousness after days of physical therapy, has given me what makes me love what I do… 

            There are days, I end up getting emotional seeing my Patients or their relatives cry, but guess what, I realised this isn’t a bad thing, its not that I’m emotionally weak, infact this is why I can treat them better.. The day you feel what your patients are going through, that day you know exactly what to treat and how to treat… 

            A change in my postings, makes me sad, the only reason being is I hate to leave my Patients.. After spending quite some time with them, you end up bonding with them, and then leaving them in the midst is just the worst thing… But, you know what’s the best thing? It’s when the patient doesn’t want you to leave.. This is a real patient – therapist relationship, it is this kind of a bond which you should aim to build.. 

            It’s weird how you start feeling for your patients, working to make them get better, some how gets you closer to them on an emotional level… 

          As I always say, consider the fact that patients are humans… All that your patients need is your time, love and care.. Give them what they need and see them rise.. After all this is what we live for… 

           We live, to make our patients life,                                   worth living.. 

    This is why I am a physical therapist and I am in love with what I do..

    Why Im proud being a physical therapist?

    Who is a physical therapist?

    Who is a physical therapist? 

           Regardless of what the definition says, I believe my profession has a lot more that I do.. I am proud of the fact that my profession, is what taught me that patients need to be cared for.. This is what, a physical therapist does.. 

          We care, and this is what we do best.. 

           Everyday the time i spend in the hospital, makes me realise that patients are treated as patients and hardly as humans.. Patients are treated but never talked to.. Why so? Why is there always a communication gap..? Most of the times, what the patient needs to hear from you, is just the fact that he or she would be alright.. Does being a medical professional, deprive you completely of the time you could spend in answering your patients queries? Being in a field, where your main priority is your patient, neglecting those talks which could be spent well in counselling your patient, is a “big thing”.. Isn’t it? 

            As a therapist, I realised I could bridge this gap.. My profession gave me that power.. Today when I treat my Patients I make it a point to bond with them and then treat them.. Its not about what I do, its about how I do? That’s all that makes the difference… Talking to the patients and their relatives, listening to what they have to say and then making them understand what I want them to, is how I like it to be.. The best thing about this, is now they know that someone cares and they open up very well.. This is exactly what I want from them… You see its not just about treating the physical impairments of your patient, but also that mental state that the patient is in.. And this mental state could be easily treated by talking to the patient and counselling him or her.. Its about asking the patient, how he/she feels before, as well as after the treatment… 

             At the end of your treatment, that one point where you pat the patient saying, take careeverything would be ok, is what your patient waits for eagerly… This is what makes your treatment Complete.. 

              The white coat I wear, has got me alot of respect from people whom I never even treated.. But you know, what is even better? When people whom you treat, give you more respect being a therapist, than the actual treating medical professional.. This is why you need to treat the patient as a human and not just a “Patient“.. This is what makes you eligible for the respect that you get from your patient.. 

            That one word called Thankyou and that one smile that your patient leaves you with, at the end of your treatment, is worth a million dollars, and this is what I strive for everyday… It makes my day.. It leaves me satisfied.. 

            People always said to me, that i’m a caring and loving person, they said I’m a good listener and now I guess my qualities make me suit my profession the best.. 

         Years before, I never thought I would be so proud of who I would be in my future .. 

    Today, I am proud of who I am, and who I intend to be… 

    I, am a physical therapist, and I care.. And this, is what, I do the “BEST”..