It has been said that you never really know how you will react in a certain situation until you actually find yourself in it. Assuming that is true, it would be interesting to pick the brains of medical professionals to find out what they learned about themselves in their first few years of practice. Physical and occupational therapists immediately come to mind.
Therapy jobs are somewhat unique because the rules for treating patients are a lot more fluid. If you are a physical or occupational therapist, you know that what you do is not as cut and dried as setting a broken bone in the emergency department. You have to be a lot more flexible and creative. What works for one patient may not work for another, and vice-versa.
This reality is one of the things that makes therapy so exciting to those who love it. And as a therapist, you can learn a lot about yourself with every client whose quality of life you are hoping to improve. Here are just a few things your job can reveal about you:
1. Your Creative Intelligence
Creative intelligence is defined by psychologists as the ability to go above and beyond what already exists to create novel and better alternatives. In the therapy setting, creative intelligence is a must-have quality. Therapists have to respond to patients as they respond to the therapies they are experiencing. Therapists have to be able to adjust on-the-fly with strategies that might not necessarily fit the norm.
2. Your Ability to be Flexible
Hand-in-hand with creative intelligence is the ability to be flexible no matter what comes your way. You may have specific plans for one of your patients later in the day. But those plans can be ripped to shreds if the patient arrives with some sort of complication that has to be addressed first. Will you go with the flow, or will you let the sudden complication ruin the rest of your day?
3. Your Bedside Manner
The concept of the bedside manner does not apply just to doctors and nurses. It also applies to therapists. As you work with patients, the manner you display will have an impact on patient response. A good bedside manner will generally yield positive results while a bad bedside manner will do just the opposite.
It is worth noting that patients have a habit of testing their therapists without even knowing they are doing so. That makes the need for a good bedside manner rather important. Your patients may do things that would send you over the edge outside of work. But at the office, you cannot allow that. You have to display the right amount of compassion and firmness in a way that presents a good bedside manner.
4. Your Level of Concern for Patients
Finally, therapy jobs have a habit of revealing the level of concern therapists have for the patients. We generally accept that medical professionals do what they do, in part, because they genuinely want to help people live better lives. That is certainly the case in physical, occupational, and speech therapy.
Any lack of genuine concern is quickly revealed when patients don’t offer their full cooperation. On the other hand, a genuine, heartfelt concern will be demonstrated even on those days when patients are driving you crazy.
You can learn a lot about yourself as both a person and a therapist just by paying attention to what you do at work. Whether you’re a locum, an employee, or practice owner, therapy jobs have a funny way of revealing a lot about who you really are.