Over a year ago, I started receiving calls from a Service Coordinator who works with our county's Regional Center. She chose to contact me directly instead of going through the company I contract with because she specifically wanted me to be the PT for children on her caseload. I was (and still am) flattered, but have to admit that I was a bit puzzled. Finally, the mother of one of the kids revealed to me why the Service Coordinator likes me so much. It's because I care.
Seriously? Because I care? I was floored. Are there therapists who don't care?
I got my answer soon enough. Another PT who contracted with my company was taking the summer off and several of the kids on her caseload were transferred to me. When I contacted her to discuss each case, I was stunned at how she referred to the children. I asked about "Adam" and she said "Oh, the [insert city here] kid?" When I spoke to her about "Jeremy," I asked if she wanted to do the closing report in September because she had been his therapist for so long and she replied, "Oh, no. I don't want him. He's yours." And when I asked about "Donald," I was told that he was a difficult, clingy child with a crazy, overprotective father. Nothing about his goals, what they were working on, or what motivated him. These children have names. They are human beings. They have stories. They have dignity.
I know that the majority of Physical Therapists entered the field because they wanted to help people. Over time, our vocation may become merely a job to us, but our patients are still humans with inherent dignity. If therapists find themselves referring to people by anything other than their names (unless HIPAA is in practice at the moment, of course), treating patients like objects or mere jobs to be done, prescribing treatment programs that aren't individualized to patients' unique needs, perhaps a career re-evaluation is in order.
If therapists find themselves lacking the passion the once had for helping people, perhaps their talent, education, experience, and expertise can be better utilized in PT research, administration, education, or advocacy.
As I prepare to go to work, I occasionally find myself not wanting to go, but once I arrive and see the smiles on those little faces and witness the progress being made, I remember exactly why I got into this field. I love my job.