Be Good at What You Do

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By Terry C. Brown, PT, DPT

I would assume that most of you reading this article are affiliated in some way with a private practice, but may not have started out thinking this is where you would be. Each of us most likely got to where we are today by traveling down different roads. When you graduated from physical therapy school, you may have had a different idea about what your career would look like, or you may have known exactly where you were headed. The point I would like to explore is not where you work or how you got there but why you do what you do.

I suspect that most of our desires about being a physical therapist had to do with patient care. We were first clinicians and in our heart remain so. Our job is to provide a valuable service to our clients. The driving force for me was to treat patients and make people healthier. It has driven the vast majority of decisions that I have made concerning my career. The move to own a private practice was to escape an administration limiting my ability to give the level of care I wanted to provide. I needed to have the freedom to do it my way.

I think the reason why we do this is universal no matter how you do it. Each of our “how we did it” is different. We may be big, small, cash pay, single therapist, multi-owner, orthopedic, pediatric, and on and on. No matter how we did it, the patient remains why we did it. We focus on what makes us successful, delivering a patient-centered, quality service that is recognized by the community as the go-to place for movement disorders. Simply put, we must be good at what we do. My friends, I believe there is room for all of us who are willing to be good.

Good doesn’t mean the same. Good, in order to be good, needs contrast. It needs tension and some stress. This in fact drives quality. Should private practice be an amorphous blob? If we all look and act the same, is that really good for our profession? I think not. As long as a practice focuses on the patients and allows the therapist to deliver quality care, then what it looks like on the outside matters less than what its culture is on the inside.

Let’s embrace our diversity in private practice and strive to be good. I suspect those who do will also be successful.

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