Physical Therapy Career Tip – Know Who Are You Talking To

I want to talk today about who you are talking to. Who exactly are you talking to? This is in response to an article from Resilient Performance PT, and the guy’s name is Doug. His article was on “What is the language of physical therapy?” This article was so on-point. I just want to give you one little small sentence, and I want to talk to you about a story.

Here’s what Doug said, “It is not uncommon to see the self-anointed physical therapy intellectual elite criticize commercially successful colleagues who speak to the public in a language that it can understand. Simplify complex phenomenon like pain. Should private practice PTs be directing their message to other clinicians or directly to the public?”

This article goes on and on, but I want to tell you guys that this is critical.

Because I just want to tell you what I did for the first four years of my career versus what I’ve done for the last twelve years.

First 4 years of my career was all about getting as much initials after my name as possible.

Would my colleagues care about this? Yes…

Would my patients? Well… I thought so, but apparently they didn’t care…

I was able to get extra initials, and I’m sure I gained a little more respect from my colleagues, but I don’t think it did much for my patients. So I decided to start to learn how to communicate with them better. How to break everything down, so anyone could understand what is wrong with them. Basically, I learned how to explain every condition in a way that my mom could go to her friends and explain to them so they would understand.


So my question to you is this.

Who are you directing your message to?

Who are you trying to talk to?

Watch the Video here: Physical Therapy Career Tip – Know Who You Are Talking To


Talk to the community!

If you have the desire to be an amazing clinician or a fantastic helper of musculoskeletal conditions in your community, then you better learn how to take the stuff that you learned in school, or are currently learning in school, and you better find out how to talk to the community. You might get crucified for it, your colleagues might not get it, but you better know how to do that. That’s why I took one module of Smart Success PT, and I just train you to do that because the number of interns that I’ve had, and even some new PTs that I’ve had that have not worked with me before coming to Renewal. They are like, “I’ve never seen someone explain this so simplistic.”

Initially, they think it’s complicated, but they are like, “Oh my gosh, the patients are like wow, I finally understand my condition!” “I finally know what the hell doctors are trying to tell me all this time?”

That’s just the truth. You have to make a decision. You either try to talk in the jargon of your colleagues, and that’s cool, or you are going to talk and make your patients understand you big time.

That’s just a decision that you have to make.  All the different conditions that we typically see, how do you say it to patients in a certain way that gets them to understand. How do you do it?

I know that’s a touchy subject for PTs.

Kelly Starrett…some people love him and some people don’t, but the dude figured out a way to be able to teach people first aid for orthopedics. Whether you like it or not, he has catered to the community. That guy is killing it doing that. He is one of the most influential physical therapists; I don’t care if you like him or not, it doesn’t matter. But he has figured out how to put his message out to the community. Some people might be a lot better than him, we can always argue about who’s better clinically, but it’s just a decision that you have to make. Who are you trying to cater to? Just think about that. Click To Tweet