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The Power of PT THE REASONS I’VE LOVED MY JOB SINCE DAY 1
My first day as a physical therapist took me by surprise. I was relaxing one Friday evening in June, tired from the post-university job hunt, when I got a call from the Kessler Institute for Physical Rehabilitation in West Orange, which is the biggest rehab hospital in the nation. I’d been through a couple interviews with them, so I expected (or rather, hoped ) they were hiring me. They told me the good news: I was hired! But I hardly had time to celebrate before they dropped the stress bomb: Several therapists were out on vacation, and they needed me to come in the next day. I have to admit, I felt anxious about starting so quickly, but I was even more excited. Ever since high school, I’d been on the path to helping people eliminate their pain and move on with their everyday lives, and here was an opportunity to realize that dream. Immediately, it was a hectic scramble as I hustled around trying to fill in the gaps left by the vacationing therapists. It was a textbook trial by fire. I assisted patients with spinal cord injuries and stroke victims with their exercises, and honestly, it was a thrill to be thrust right into the call of duty. I learned more that day than any other. Ever since that crazy first day, I’ve loved my job. I get to come to work every day and help patients reach goals they never thought possible, whether by increasing their mobility or reducing their
pain. It’s deeply gratifying to watch a patient successfully return to normal function after days, months, or even years of suffering and struggle. Here’s just one example of a patient success story. A few months ago, I got a call from a patient who’d been out of therapy for a week or so. He came into the clinic fresh from a spinal stenosis surgery, locked into his back brace. He could barely move. But after three months with my team, his mobility returned to normal. He was thrilled and called to thank me. “I just played a full 18 holes of golf!” he exclaimed. That was a dramatic case, but we see changes like that each and every day. Some folks come in using wheelchairs and leave ready to train for their next 5K. How’s that for meaningful work? It’s the patients who keep me striving for excellence in my field and practice. With every person we get back on the green, the track, or just into their everyday life, I know we’ve done well. I feel privileged to make a difference in people’s lives.
– Kevin Kurtz
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