Good Ole Days…Gone!

  1. “When I graduated from physical therapy school, therapists expected to work for someone and had abundant choices in location and specialties. The expectation was for a good paying job with ample opportunity to learn from mentors and a patient load that would allow for generous one-to-one patient time. It was also expected that the salary would afford an improved lifestyle and cover the payment of their low-interest student loans”

 

Wow! This was a mouth full! Let me start by saying…those were the days (in the Edith Bunker voice). If you don’t know Edith, go get some culture!

 

Prior to the balance budget of 1997, jobs were a plenty and the salary was good. Unfortunately this is also one of the situations responsible for the need of a balanced budget. People were seeing patients for such a long time and Medicare, and other insurance companies, continued to pay for any and all treatment issued. This was regardless of need. Can you imagine that in today’s day and age? We shot our own foot by over treating and creating the spa-type environment in which everyone got ultrasound, hot packs, electrical stimulation, and massage. That’s not very physical for being physical therapy. Those days are long gone and welcome to modern times. Students are taking out between 100-200K in order to earn the right to make 65K to start. Doesn’t sound like living the dream to me.

 

  1. “The emphasis on cost containment and required documentation has created an atmosphere that does not support the very reason that most of us went into this field in the first place: ‘patient care’….Student loan debts compared to starting salary make a potential physical therapy student consider other options that have better financial outcomes.”

 

I have this discussion with prospective students often. If you think that being a Doctor of Therapy sounds lucrative, think again. Depending on school choice and loan terms, the school could cost in excess of 500K (when interest over time is accumulated). We make good money, but retirement will have to be sacrificed in order to pay off student loans. Once ours are paid off, then we have to worry about providing an education for our children. Good luck in this profession! It has treated me well, but I don’t live an extravagant life either.

 

Quotes taken from:

 

Brown TC. From the President: Come Together Right now. IMPACT. July 2016:5.

Author: Dr. Vince Gutierrez, PT, cert. MDT

After having dedicated 8 years to growing my knowledge regarding the profession of physical therapy, it seems only fitting that I join the social media world in order to spread a little of the knowledge that I have gained over the years. This by no means is meant to act in place of a one-one medical consultation, but only to supplement your baseline knowledge in which to choose a practitioner for your problem. Having completed a Master of Physical Therapy degree, the MDT (Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy) certification and currently finishing a post-graduate doctorate degree, I have spent the previous 12 years in some sort of post-baccalalaureate study. Hopefully the reader finds the information insightful and uses the information in order to make more informed healthcare decisions. MISSION STATEMENT: My personal mission statement is as follows: As a professional, I will provide a thorough assessment of your clinical presentation and symptoms in order to determine both the provocative and relieving positions and movements. The assessment process and ensuing treatment will be based on current and relevant evidence. Furthermore, I will educate the patients regarding their symptoms and their likelihood of improving with either skilled therapy, an independent exercise program, spontaneous recovery or if the patient should be referred to a separate specialist to possibly provide a more rapid resolution of symptoms. Respecting the patient’s limited resources is important and I will provide an accurate overview of the prognosis within 7 visits, again based on current research. My goal is to empower the patient in order to take charge of both the symptomatic resolution and return to full function with as little dependence on the therapist as possible. Personally, I strive to be an example for family and friends. My goal is to demonstrate that success is not a byproduct of situations, but a series of choices and actions. I will mentor those, in any way possible, that are having difficulty with the choices and actions for success. I will continue to honor my family’s “blue-collar” roots by working to excel at my chosen career and life situations. I choose to be a leader of example, and not words, all the while reducing negativity in my life. I began working towards the professional aspect of the mission statement while still in physical therapy school. By choosing an internship that emphasized patient care and empowering the patient, instead of the internship that was either closest to home or where I knew that I would have the easiest road to graduation, I took the first step towards learning how to utilize the evidence to teach patients how to reduce their symptoms. I continued this process by completing Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy courses A-D and passing the credentialing exam. I will continue to pursue my clinical education through CEU’s on MDT and my goal is to obtain the status of Diplomat of MDT. Returning back to school for the t-DPT was a major decision for me, as resources (i.e. time and money) are limited. My choice was between saving money for the Dip MDT course (about 15,000 dollars) and continuing on with the Fellowship of American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists (FAAOMPT) (about 5,000 dollars), as these courses are paired through the MDT curriculum or returning to school to work towards a Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree. I initially planned on saving for the Dip MDT and FAAOMPT, but life changes forced me to re-evaluate my situation. The decision then changed to return for the tDPT, as my employer paid for a portion of the DPT program. My goal for applying to and finishing the Dip MDT and FAAOMPT is 10 years. This is how long I anticipate that it will take to finish paying student loans and save for both programs, based on the current rate of payment. I don’t know if I will ever accomplish what I set forth in the mission statement, but I do know that it will be a forever struggle to maintain this standard that I set for myself.

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