I recently spent 2 weeks in a marathon course with 31 second year physical therapy students. As part of the course, we brought in real, live patients, and the students had the opportunity to evaluate and treat them over two visits. This was the first time that these students had the opportunity to try out their new skills on real patients. It was amazing to watch these students, who had been sleeping through my lectures, come alive. They were full of passion and excitement over their ability to connect with and help their patients.
Watching these students reminded me of how I felt when I first started my career as a PT. It also reminded me that it is so easy to lose that passion and excitement. I could picture the stagnant PTs I have worked with over the years who, in the words of ZdoggMD (star and creator of classic videos such as A Hard Docs Life, Hemorrhoids Rap, Diarrhea: The Musical and Manhood in The Mirror) had become disconnected burned out Zombies with a goniometer.
I am not sure exactly what causes this burn out. Perhaps it is things like the 8 minute rule, G codes, functional goals, plan of care, defensible documentation, practice act limitations, KX modifiers, Form C-4, C-4.2, C-5, high co-pays, productivity standards etc… which make us forget why we became PTs.
I have two (related) questions for you.
1)How do you keep yourself from becoming a thoughtless zombie physical therapist?
2) How do I help my students avoid becoming thoughtless zombie physical therapists?