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Today I am excited to have a second therapist discuss her experiences while working in acute care! Please welcome my friend and colleague, Ana Quinlan, to the blog! I hope you are impacted by her honesty and her perspective of working in acute care.
Where do you work? Describe the patient population in which you work.
I work at Augusta University Medical Center in the acute care setting. I primarily work with patients who have neurological impairments.
2. What do you enjoy about working in your field of PT?
My favorite things about acute care PT are getting to meet new people daily and helping them improve function to be able to return to their loved ones and their lives.
3. What are some of the unique physical, emotional, or spiritual challenges of working in your field PT?
Working with people in the acute care setting, you enter people’s lives when they are most vulnerable. They have had a major change in their health status, which could be physical and/or cognitive and can affect them on a deeper level. My interventions often include a lot of physical work (lifting, holding someone up in sitting or standing, helping them move their limbs). Emotionally, working in this setting can be difficult as we work intimately with people and the future is often so unknown at this stage in their recovery. My patients' lives have just dramatically changed, and we are there to help get them on a path toward functioning in their “new normal.” I aim to bring hope to every interaction with each patient, and the message that this is temporary, better is coming. Being of service to others definitely has its challenges when motivation is limited or a patient is struggling to find a purpose for why he/she is in this position. It's also difficult to watch someone struggle with illnesses or injuries and keep a positive perspective knowing the prognosis is poor. Spiritually, I am blessed every day to be a light for those who need it and thankful that they are the same for me. I am constantly reminded how precious and powerful our presence is in each other's lives. I truly believe that He places us in each other’s paths for a reason; each patient is in my path as much as I am in theirs.
4. How does your faith impact your work and how you view you patient interactions?
My faith guides me and pulls me through, especially those more difficult days. It lets me know there is a higher purpose and a plan that we can't always see but we do what we are called to do. My faith allows me to show grace when patients need it and provide them hope for the future, whatever that may look like for them. It also refocuses me when I get distracted with complications (people, situations, attitudes) to guide me back to my purpose - serving Him through serving His people.
5. Briefly describe a story in which you really felt like you ministered to a patient.
I struggled to respond to this question, and I kept asking myself, "Why?" I'd like to be able to point to some poignant moment where I felt a warm glow and everything was shimmery as a patient and I made a connection. I have prayed over patients, prayed with patients, cried and rejoiced with patients. I have encouraged them and tried to help them find some peace in the moments that are darkest. I have spoken of trust and faith in God and his plans for us when the path feels dark and lonely. To me, ministering is something we do every day with every patient. We are there to be of service as healthcare providers and as Christians. We show the way to Him as we minister to every patient, in every interaction.
***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!!***