This week marks the 1 year anniversary of my start date at Bridgetown Physical Therapy. 1 year of officially being of Portland physical therapist! I typically use this time to reflect back on growth, analyze performance and update goals (I did the same thing after my first year as a physical therapist). While that is still happening I can’t help but feel a little…. weird about it?
2020 has been a hell of a year for us all. There’s been a lot to take in and a lot to work through as a Portland physical therapist.
Looking back on my first few months here I really had it made. An awesome new clinic, great coworkers, a steadily growing schedule and my marketing efforts were actually paying off! I was really excited to be in a position where I could become the clinician I wanted to be, treat patients how I deemed appropriate and have some independence.
The first change came in March when the pandemic truly hit. We were forced to make important decisions that impacted the business, ourselves and our patients. Navigating telehealth felt like a constant scramble. Determining safety measures for opening the clinic back up came with constant changes to adapt to.
The killing of George Floyd brought large protests 3 blocks from our clinic. These demonstrations brought necessary awareness to the ongoing systemic issue of racial inequality and police brutality that has plagued our nation for hundreds of years. They also started productive conversations with some patients, but did discourage many people from coming downtown.
Wildfires have brought absolute devastation to our Oregon neighbors, including some of our patients, friends and families. We were lucky enough to avoid fire, but were left with over a week of hazardous air quality. This made commuting to and from appointments unsafe for many patients.
I honestly don’t even know how to summarize this one but… I’m sure you get it.
2020 has thrown a lot of hurdles our way. No doubt about it.
It’s tempting to just sit back and wallow in the self-pity.
But wallowing really doesn’t make things any better. It’s not going to fill schedules, make positive connections or build up the community.
Being a Portland physical therapist in 2020 requires you to push forward.
You have to be optimistic without being naive. You’ve got to toe the line between creating a positive atmosphere without appearing “out-of-touch”.
You have to grind while still giving yourself time to process everything going on. You’ve got to take care of others (patients and non-patients) without neglecting yourself.
You have to do all of this while constantly reinventing everything you once knew, from marketing to cleaning protocols to community outreach.
I am still doing exactly what I had intended to at the beginning of my time here. I’m becoming the clinician I want to be, treating the way I deem appropriate and getting a sense of independence.
But, over this last year I’ve been forced to grow as a Portland Physical Therapist in ways I wouldn’t have expected, and I’ve felt these growing pains the entire way.
I don’t think I’m at the point where I can look back with the rose-colored glasses and “appreciate” this push from 2020 quite yet. I mean, it’s only October…
What I can say is I know I’m coming out of this with a kind of grit and appreciation for my career that I don’t think I would have achieved any other way.
I’ve learned a lot about what makes a good physical therapist (hint: it’s not the number of con ed courses you’ve taken). I value the relationships I’ve made with my patients more than I ever have before. Most of all, I’ve learned to adjust, improvise and be innovative in ways I haven’t been in the past.
Am I ready to embrace 2020 with open arms?
Nope, not even a little bit.
But, I do think I’m on track to make it out of this a better clinician?
I actually do.