My 50th Post: Motivation to Learn

A Little Personal

It is hard to believe that I have already written my 50th post after starting this blog in February as a way to enhance both my learning and the learning of others.

This blog has allowed me to interact with a variety of different individuals that I otherwise would not have. And when people who I deeply respect say they admire what I have to say (or at least my version of what other people say), I am deeply humbled.

But I have had several cases in which people wondered if I do anything other than physical therapy and personal training (I do). One of my former mentors came up to me saying that she was worried about me because of how much I am into this.

These interactions have made me reflect on why I am reading, working, writing, and learning as much as I can. Thus, I have come to some conclusions as to what drives me to help others. And this drive, while not the norm that some of my peers are accustomed to, is far from wrong.

Others are Depending on You

When you work as a health professional, some people neglect the fact that your patients and clients trust their bodies with you.  They put their confidence in your knowledge and skills to show them the path to bettering themselves.

When someone puts this amount of trust into me, the last thing I want to do is let them down.

So I am going to put my utmost effort into helping them meet their goals. We do this by giving them the best quality of care of course, but that also means consistent honing of knowledge and skills to provide them with your best.

All too often I see clinicians and trainers who have not picked up a book or journal article since school ended; going through the motions day after day. I feel sorry for their patients and clients, because they are the ones who ultimately suffer.  Patient care is just like maintaining a relationship with someone. If you do not put in the effort to better the relationship, it will eventually fail.

The worst thing you can do is mail it in day after day.

I Still Fail

Even though in the past year alone I feel I have improved my clinical understanding tremendously, I still have patients that do not get better.  More than I would like…which is 0 🙂

Granted, there exists a certain sub-population of people who will just not get better regardless. But I am sure we all have patients that we think could have benefited from our services that did not.

Maybe you didn’t know what you were looking for…Then improve your assessment skills and learn better principles.

Maybe you weren’t familiar enough with their presentation…Then increase your knowledge base so you are familiar.

Maybe you didn’t have the right sensory input to apply to this person…Then learn new exercises and manual skills so you have the right inputs.

Maybe they didn’t like you…Then improve your patient interaction skills so the next one will.

Maybe they didn’t follow through on their home program…Then improve your ability to motivate the next one to perform their exercises.

It is great if people do not improve due to something on our parts, because we then have the capacity to change these issues.

Information Overload

If you Pubmed search the keyword physical therapy, you will get 209444 hits (as of 8/22/13). No doubt if you check that phrase 2 months from now that number will increase. That is a lot of information, and new science comes out daily. By necessity, you have to keep up…especially if you want to know everything…which I don’t.

I think my wise mentor Bill Hartman put it best, “If you are not getting better, you are getting worse.”

It’s Damn Fun

The more that I read the more fascinated I become with what we do as clinicians and trainers.  Especially since I have delved deeper into neurological topics, my approach and thought process has undergone a huge transformation. Gone are the biophysical thought processes in favor of a more biopsychosocial rationale. No longer am I telling patients that their facet joints are causing their pain. Now I say pain is the brain’s response to threat, and I am here to help turn down the defense mechanisms that go along with that.

To me, there is nothing more interesting and fun than going through and learning things that drastically change the way you think.

A Close

These areas are what keep me and this website going. Will I be writing summaries forever? Who knows? Maybe someday I will have an original thought. But I will say that as long as the passion stays, I and I hope you too will press on and continue to learn. When you stop learning, then it is time to hang it up.

What motivates you to learn? Please comment below.

  1. Someone was worried about how much you post? I worry when people I like to read don’t post more often! (Btw that mentor of yours would have a CVA if she knew how much I read!)

  2. great , I like ur post ♥♥
    its happening a lot with me
    some people tell something like don’t waste ur time in reading always reading
    well , I don’t like that beside if she don’t care about her pt. or improveing herself for them she don’t have the right to judge the others.
    I wish if the people around me can understand that the money is not everything in the jop!!
    thanxx u

    keep in 🙂

  3. Great post Zac! I graduated 2 weeks ago from PT school in Montreal, Quebec and I believe I have a very similar view on things as you. I have always looked further than what was thaught at school and have always questionned and looked for different views. I find unfortunate that many do not have that passion in them. At the end of the day, as you said, the patients trust us with their health and their bodies. We cannot allow ourselves to be close minded and ignorant. Especially in this day and age when information is so easily accessible. I take the majority of my time off looking for new sources and educating myself in order to be a better trainer and physiotherapist. And people think it’s weird…”Obsessed is what lazy people call the passionate”
    Again, thank you for all your great posts!