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Excited to have a colleague and former student on the blog today! Casey graciously provided some of his thoughts on working at Emory Hospital in acute care. I think you will be encouraged enjoy Casey's thoughts on the blog today!
1. Where do you work? Describe the patient population in which you work?
I work at Emory St. Joseph’s Hospital in Sandy Springs, Ga. We have multiple floors of every type of patient whether it be orthopedic, neurological, general medicine/post surgical, oncology, cardiac, and 3 intensive care units. In general we rotate around so there is not one type of patient population I see everyday. Currently most of my patients are in the age range of 50-100 years old but I occasionally see younger patients for various illnesses/ injuries.
2. What do you enjoy about working in your field of PT?
My favorite part of working in acute care is seeing the impact of physical therapy when people are at their lowest physically, mentally, and spiritually. Our job is very impactful and a vital part of improving patient health and keeping our hospital running smoothly day to day. It is very exciting seeing patients take big or small steps towards being well again. Professionally, I really enjoy the one on one care I am able to provide to my patients in acute care that is not feasible in most outpatient settings nowadays. I also enjoy the flexibility of my schedule each day as I can choose when to evaluate/treat my patients and when to document or take my lunch break. Overall, my job provides an excellent work-life balance.
3. What are some of the unique physical, emotional, or spiritual challenges of working in your field of PT?
Physically there can be many days of heavy lifting. Some patients are barely able to move and need our assistance with something simple like sitting on the side of the bed. It is vital that my coworkers and I use good body mechanics and our equipment wisely to prevent acute or chronic injury to ourselves. Emotionally, we deal with patient’s dying and having severe setbacks so it can be very disheartening at times to see patients who you’ve built a personal connection to go through those hard times. I always try to be a positive impact on my patients each day and help them to focus on how they’ve improved and the big picture. Spiritually, some of the most impactful moments of my life have been at work. I truly feel called to serve others through physical therapy and many times the verse Matthew 25:40 “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” comes to mind. Whether I am grabbing a cup of water for my patient or helping them take their first step after surgery I truly believe this profession was tailored for me to serve others and be an example of Christ.
4. How does your faith impact your work and how you view your patient interactions? Briefly describe a story in which you really felt like you ministered to a patient.
I would say my relationship with God has a huge impact on my patient interactions. I do not just see patients as part of my workday. I see them as people in need. I’m blessed with a gift to help others in their darkest time similar to how Jesus met those he healed at their darkest time. Out of the many stories I have there is one that sticks out. I had a patient at a previous hospital who I worked with many times over the span of a year. The patient was in and out of the hospital for lung problems. This particular day I was chart reviewing prior to treating the patient and I read that the patient decided he was tired of needing to be on a BiPap 24 hours a day in order to survive and wanted to go home on hospice. I entered the room and the patient told me that this would probably be the last time I would see him and he had two requests. His first request was that I would pray for his family and the second request was that I would help him sit up on the side of the bed one more time. I hesitated for a minute because I did not want to push him too hard with his lungs in such a fragile state. After monitoring his oxygen levels I saw that he was stable enough at the moment to attempt sitting up. I assisted the patient to sitting and he was able to sit up for 15 minutes without his oxygen level dropping. He was smiling and laughing the whole time while he sat on the side of the bed. After I helped him back to laying down in the bed he thanked me. The nurse came in and said that the MD said he could go home the next day on hospice so I told him I’d come back by and say hello if he had not left yet the next day. When I got to work I found out he passed away in the early morning so he never made it home but he did get to sit up with me one last time like he wanted. The power of movement is the freedom it brings to each of us. As physical therapists we are always working to help others move better so that they can return to doing what they love again whether it be playing sports, visiting family, or sitting on the side of the bed.
***Check out the new book "Rehab the World" written for Physical Therapists to encourage us in our workplace and prepare us to serve those around us. If you like, please leave a review and spread the word!!***