As a student, it has been a pleasure being at South Simcoe Physio and I have been grateful to get the chance to learn in such a warm and welcoming environment. Although being on placement means getting hands-on experience and learning new techniques, a lot of my learning has also come from patient interaction. As I’m beginning to develop my “therapy hands”, patient feedback can tell me so much about what I am doing and how I am doing it. During my time here, I have been able to see and follow patients on a regular basis and to me, a patient’s point of view is just as important as my instructor’s.
As my six weeks at South Simcoe comes to an end, I asked patients for some advice about what it takes to be a good physio. It is important for me to understand what patients value in a physiotherapist and most importantly, use their advice as I move forward and begin my career. One patient in particular left me with three simple letters: A-E-L, which stands for ADAPT, ENGAGE, LISTEN. As I gathered more advice from other patients, they all seemed to fall nicely into one of these categories.
- Be able to read your patients and respect their boundaries
- Don’t be afraid to change it up every so often to make sure the patient is getting the best of their treatment
- Re-evaluate your approach when patient’s needs change
- Always include patients by telling them what you are doing and why you are doing it
- Be able to relate to your patients, find something you have in common to talk about
- Never under-estimate the value of small talk, it makes sessions more pleasant for both parties and it is the best way to build rapport.
- There is nothing wrong with letting your patient know if there is any part of the treatment that you are struggling with
- When checking in with your patient, ask about how they have been feeling since they last saw you instead of only asking how they feel in that one moment
- Just allow your patient to vent to you about their aches and pains. Be able to lend an ear for their complaints (especially about the Leafs).
I believe that building a strong rapport with patients is one of the best parts of being a Physiotherapist and I certainly got a taste of that during my time here at South Simcoe. It is truly the best learning experience when the patients are cheering me on as I clumsily move their limbs around. Thank you to all the patients for allowing me to be apart of your treatment, I will carry your advice with me in my pursuit to be the best Physio that I can be.