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PT Month Spotlight: Why I Love Being a Physical Therapist

By Jackie Cunningham, PT, CBIS -- As the temperature cools, the autumn leaves change colors, and the calendar flips to October, so begins National Physical Therapy Month.  PT Month is established to increase awareness to the profession. As a physical therapist for over 25 years, I often get asked the questions: are you happy with the profession you chose, and what do you like about being a physical therapist? Let us begin with who physical therapists are; PT’s are highly educated, licensed health care professionals who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility ( I learned this explanation when I was researching careers at the library way back, I mean way back… in high school. It intrigued me to continue my interest and exposure to this awesome field.

As a PT, one can work in many areas from schools, outpatient clinics, hospitals and rehabilitation centers all with the goals of increasing an individual’s function and reducing pain.  After graduating from Wayne State University, I immediately found my passion of working with individuals with life alternating experiences resulting in neurological deficits such as spinal cord injury, stroke, traumatic brain injury and multiple traumas.  I was very grateful to join Special Tree’s Rehab Team almost 10 years ago to continue this passion of restoring and improving mobility.

Even with patients’ undergoing devastating, catastrophic events, it is incredibly uplifting to assist your client in their function. When I answer the question are you happy with your choice and what do you like about being a PT. I often answer, how many professions are there that on a daily basis you are thanked immensely not only by your clients but also their family? How many professions allow you to watch someone go from being paralyzed and unable to get out of bed to often moving their body again, walking and regaining their independence?  How many professions do you work with a dynamic rehab team of educated health professionals? All of this occurs while working as a PT at Special Tree. It is truly amazing to assist the human body in recovery.

I have had so many positive experiences through the past 25 years that I often cannot give one story of success. When asked I state the stories are many and begin to blend together with an overall smile and happiness in my heart. So the answer is YES, I love my job, the profession I chose, and I am honored to work for such an awesome organization, Special Tree Rehabilitation System!

This October, National Physical Therapy Month’s theme is #ChoosePT! The platform is to increase awareness to physical therapy and decrease the use of pain meds and choose physical therapy as an intervention. I can proudly say I, #ChoosePT!