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. 

Adapt: 

  1. Be able to read your patients and respect their boundaries
  2. Don’t be afraid to change it up every so often to make sure the patient is getting the best of their treatment
  3. Re-evaluate your approach when patient’s needs change 

Engage: 

  1. Always include patients by telling them what you are doing and why you are doing it
  2. Be able to relate to your patients, find something you have in common to talk about
  3. 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. 
  4. There is nothing wrong with letting your patient know if there is any part of the treatment that you are struggling with 

Listen: 

  1. 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 
  2. 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.

                                                                                    – Joelle 

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