Career Advice Article Archives

Check out all my career advice articles. There’s something for everyone, from students, to new grads, to the more experienced.  Explore the archives below or click the button to subscribe and never miss another post.

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Collaboration Between Physical Therapists and Personal Trainers

As a physical therapist, I’ll be one of the first people to admit that I truly feel that I have become a better therapist by learning from and collaborating with many great personal trainers and strength coaches.  I say that because I fear that there are some physical therapists that do not feel this way.  Maybe it is ego, or stubbornness, or maybe even a perceived turf war, but I’m not sure why every therapist doesn’t feel the way I do.

We are all technically in the same field.  Sure, I perform physical therapy and you perform personal training.  That is our respective “products” that we provide.  However, we both provide the same “commodity” to the general public – we help people attain optimal health and function.

In the broad spectrum of care, I see it as helping people “feel better, move better, and perform better.”  While I think both physical therapists and personal trainers can help people achieve all three of those goals, there is no doubt in my mind that collaborating will surely provide the best service to our clients.

And isn’t that what it is all really about?  Helping our clients?

 

How to Maximize Collaboration Between Physical Therapists and Personal Trainers

physical therapist personal trainer collaborationI am totally excited to announce that I have teamed up with Jon Goodman to coauthor an article on how to maximize collaboration between physical therapists and personal trainers.  Jon has authored a couple of great books (I recommend all therapists read his book Ignite the Fire to enhance our own skills) and is the creator of The Personal Trainer Development Center (PTDC), which has quickly become a go-to resource on the web.

Jon and I jumped on Skype about a month ago with no agenda and just started chatting.  One of the things we discussed was the concept of this article.  We took the approach of the two of us writing our own pieces from our own perspective and then putting together.

I think it is a must read for all physical therapists, personal trainers, and strength coaches.  Hope you enjoy:

–> Click here to read the article over at ThePTDC.com <–

 

 

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Choosing a Social Media Platform to Get More Clients

Today’s guest post, written by Charlotte Bohnett and Erica Cohen, reviews the many social media platforms that are available to help promote your practice and get more clients.   With the many social media options available, there are a few factors to consider when designing your online presence.  This is a great start for many, hope it helps you get up and running – we need a stronger online presence and sharing of knowledge!

 

Choosing a Social Media Platform to Get More Clients

social media more clientsUnless you’ve been living under quite the rock for the past decade, you may have heard the words “social media” from time to time—okay, you’ve probably been bombarded by at least one example of social media in almost every conversation you’ve had, every commercial you’ve seen, or any time you check your email. You probably have an account or three. But here’s something else you may have noticed among the constant stream of Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Pinterest, and Instagram plugs: social media is no longer just a platform for, well, being social. It’s also a way for companies to connect with current and potential consumers—which in your case means patients, clients, and referral sources for you.  (Photo by Khalid Albaih)

Let’s start off with the basics. Social media is a conversation platform first and foremost, so it’s probably not the best idea to go from 0 to 60 in less than a minute and create a profile for your business on every platform that exists. In fact, one of the most damaging things you can do is create a profile and then abandon it—and your followers. It can communicate all sorts of negative things to prospects about your company, your brand, and your business. Instead, choose the right social media platform for your business and your audience, and then focus on making it represent you the right way.

So, with so much information out there—much of it advertising—how do you pick the right social media platform for your practice?

 

How to Pick the Right Social Media Platform for You

First, consider your goals. Are you hoping to educate current patients and clients; entice potential consumers; engage referral sources; or simply stay up to date on the latest industry news? Based on your goals, you can then figure out whom you want to reach. In other words, who is your target audience? Then, go where they go. Ultimately, you’ll want to get involved on the sites that best allow you to achieve your goals and reach your audience. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most popular:

Facebook

Everybody and their grandmother are on Facebook. Although it’s may have lost its hip, cool factor, it’s an ideal place for businesses to connect with current and potential patients as well as demonstrate a level of relevancy. And, because everyone else is on Facebook, you should probably be, too. Here, focus on providing valuable educational information about your industry and your specialization. Your posts should be more than sales pitches—make sure you’re offering your readers content with value. And, it’s all about reciprocity. Participate in the conversation; get involved. Friend and like.

Here are some great Facebook pages to like and share with your audience:

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Twitter

140 characters has become the slickest form of online communication—short, informational bursts of copy followed by a descriptive hashtag and maybe a supporting photo or link. If nothing else, Twitter is a great way to force brevity in your writing. Most people online have way short attention spans (squirrel) so being forced to fit your comment in 140 characters will ensure you only write the things that absolutely matter. Additionally, Twitter is a fantastic way to generate instant conversation and gain valuable insight into just about any industry or topic you wish from experts. For PTs, we recommend hopping into #SolvePT on Tuesday nights to get started. Watch for a while, and then when you’re comfortable, jump right in with your thoughts. Here, you’ll meet some of the heavy hitters in the physical therapy Twitterverse and maybe take notes as to how they generate interest in the profession and their services.  Here are some great hashtags to keep an eye on:

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LinkedIn

The world’s largest professional network has more than 161 million members. Here, you’ll do less interacting with patients and clients and more with your peers. It’s a great way to connect with fellow therapists and referring physicians. And for any savvy patients who go searching for you online, they’ll find a robust resume of your accomplishments. You can also join groups within LinkedIn to discuss topics that interest you.

Check out some of the great groups that you can join:

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Pinterest

It’s a virtual pinboard that allows you to tell your story and inspire through compelling photos or images grouped into specific, searchable categories. Here, you can build pinboards—and research others’ boards—for treatment ideas, infographics, best practices, and happy thoughts.

Give these pinners a follow to get started:

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Blogger or WordPress

These two very easy and intuitive platforms make it easy to create your own blog, which is a great way to promote your expertise and provide excellent, valuable content to patients, clients, peers, and referrers. Just note: your blog is public—just as all social media posts are—so you obviously can’t share individual patient data or recommendations.

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Google+

Similar to Facebook in that they both share the concept of profiles, Google+ also offers hangouts and circles and is fully integrated with your Google (Gmail) account. Most importantly, however, Google+ is a Google product, so a detailed Google+ profile can help increase your practice’s visibility and ranking in search.

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Now Get Started!

Once you decide which social media platform(s) you’re ready to commit to, get committed. Create your profiles and start speaking with your audience. Just be sure that what you share relates to your goal and is meaningful to your followers. And stick to it. Reciprocity and engagement can take time; make sure you’re dedicated with your efforts.

 

get more patientsAbout the Authors

Charlotte Bohnett and Erica Cohen are both Senior Writers at WebPT, the leading cloud-based EMR software designed specifically for the rehab community. For follow-up questions or additional information about WebPT, email at [email protected].

 

 

 

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A Foolproof Way to Learn More in 2013

A Foolproof Way to Learn MORE in 2013-1

Back in December, I reflected on what I learned in 2012.  One of them discussed the importance of online education and it’s impact on our ability to advanced our own education and development.  I wanted to expand on that thought a little bit and offer what I believe is a foolproof way to learn more in 2013.

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What if I were to tell you that you can add two weeks of more time to your year in 2013?

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We all want more time, right?

We all feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to get things done so we usually suffer ourselves.  Sometimes we skip exercise, or eat poorly, or neglect continuing education.

By carving out 20 minutes a day and dedicating it to personal growth and continuing education, you’ll accumulate 2 extra weeks of time during the year.  And that is just 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week – take the weekend off!  If you spend 20 minutes per day, 5 days per week, that adds up to over 86 hours a year, or more than two full work weeks of continuing education.

I think 20 minutes is the perfect length of daily education.  Studies have shown that pushing yourself a little bit each day, stepping away, and coming back results in better skill development.  You’ll have better retention, and you can mix and match different topics each day to whatever interests you today or to learn something specific to a patient or client you have coming in later that day.  You want to push yourself often, daily in this example, to create a habit of professional growth.  This stimulates your brain and I can almost guarantee will make you feel better about yourself, feel more confident, and ultimately happier in the long run.

[box type=”note” icon=”none”]Make daily professional growth a habit.[/box]

Finding 20 Minutes a Day

foolproof way to learn more in 2013So how do you find 20 minutes a day and how do you fill these minutes?  I’m glad you asked!  (OK, I guess I was actually the one that asked…).  Finding 20 minutes per day seems easy enough, but we all know how hard that can be at times.  My easiest recommendations for finding these 20 minutes are to:

  1. Schedule these 20 minutes.  Maybe it is at lunch, right when you get to work, while you are drinking your morning coffee, or whenever, but if you schedule these 20 minutes and make them part of your routine, you will be more likely to find time.
  2. Don’t check your email first thing in the morning.  Really, what exciting things happened during those 8 hours you were sleeping?  Nothing you can’t get to when you get to work or during a set time.  I try to avoid my email until after I accomplished a major goal of the day, so that way I am not distracted with little to-do’s before I get the most important task of the day out of the way.
  3. Disconnect from social media.  Studies have shown a certain amount of OCD is created by social media, making you want to stay connected throughout the day.  I would bet many of you waste away 20 minutes a day playing around pinning, poking, and tweeting all day (do we still poke?  Confession – I never knew what poking was…).

Rather than try to find 20 extra minutes a day, sometimes it’s easier to start with trying to multitask for 20 minutes per day.  How about while you are eating breakfast, or commuting to work, or waiting at the dentist?  Photo credit.

How to Use Those 20 Minutes

So now that you have found those magical 20 minutes, how do you maximize your ability to learn in these precious moments?  Here are some ideas:

  1. Set up a system to stay on top of website articles and journal articles as they become available.  You can use Google alerts, RSS feeds, and many more tools.  If you want to learn what I do, I have a webinar on setting up a system to stay on top of interests and evidence.
  2. Always have some articles you want to read readily available on your phone or tablet using an RSS reader like Google Reader, a read it later app like Instapaper, or a note taking app like Evernote.  Now, while you waiting in line at the bank, or for a haircut, or for your wife to get ready before you go out (because I know she’ll read this…).
  3. Listening to a podcast or audiobook while you are driving.
  4. Listening to a podcast or audiobook while jogging/walking/etc.
  5. Watching a DVD or online webinar while on a treadmill.  I rip all my DVDs to my iPad and then watch them at 1.5x to 2.0x speed.
  6. Watching a DVD or online webinar while commuting to work (assuming you aren’t the one driving).

A Call to Action

I really believe that current trends in online education can make you much better at what you do.  I started this thought in my article in December, but want to elaborate a little more.  I would like to propose the following call to action for us all to learn more in 2013:

  1. Attend at least one continuing education seminar a year.  This is designed to obtain a specific skill and should be dedicated to one with mostly hands-on learning and manual skill development.
  2. Attend at least one multi-speaker symposium each year.  This is to get several different views in a short amount of time and usually has a wide variety of topics.  Plus you get a great networking oppurtunity.  Downside of these symposiums is usually lack of hands-on time.
  3. Have one book to read that is NOT related to our clinical skillswork on your other skill sets, I try to read 1-2 per month.  HINT: You’ve probably figured it our by now, but most books like this have about 20% content and 80% stories to strengthen the content.  I don’t need the fluff, I read fast and get through more books this way.
  4. Watch one webinar a week.  Subscribe to a resource that has a diverse amount of topics that you can digest quickly, like RehabWebinars.com or my Inner Circle.  That way you can vary the topics but whatever is on your mind that week or whoever you have on the schedule that day.  If a webinar is more than 20 minutes, watch half one day and the other half the next.
  5. Read a couple of websites a day while drinking your morning coffee, eating lunch, or unwinding in bed.  I usually spend 10 minutes a day doing this and staying on top of what is been published on the internet.  As I mentioned earlier, you can read more about how to learn my system of staying current.

Think about it, over the course of the year you would attend at least 1 continuing education seminar, 1 symposium, read at least 12 books, watched 52 webinars, and read 100’s of online blog posts and journal articles.  There is no doubt this will serve as a great shortcut to overachieving and making great progress in your career.

Foolproof.

Now that you have gained all this time and know what to do with it, use these two weeks you gained to educate yourself more and start overachieving!

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Exercise Selection for Rehabilitation Programs

Today’s guest post is written by Dennis Treubig, PT, DPT, CSCS.  Dennis has some great thoughts and I couldn’t agree more with his motivation to push himself.   This is a concept I talk about all the time.  I love the first line below!   Thanks for sharing, I think this information and the “progress” Dennis has made is a great example of thinking outside the box, while justifying your thoughts with scientific rationale.  Good work Dennis, thanks!

Exercise Selection for Rehabilitation Programs

selecting rehabilitation exercisesI believe that from time to time any physical therapist should ask themselves, “Professionally, what do I do differently now than 5 years ago?”  If your answer to that is nothing, you are doing a disservice to yourself and your patients (and most likely aren’t reading websites like this).  If you answer that question with a lengthy discussion, then I commend you.  When I asked myself that question recently, I realized that one of the major areas I have changed is in exercise selection for my patients.  After thinking about it more and more, I feel that this is one area that separates the run-of-the-mill PT from the “advanced” PT – and that is why I decided to elaborate on my thoughts.

I think there are many physical therapists out there that bombard their patients with a slew of exercises thinking that more is better.  These PT’s will add new exercises without taking out old ones, they will prescribe “3 sets of 10” for each exercise, and rarely progress the weight/resistance.  These types of PT’s will also see a new, “cool” exercise somewhere and then, without proper discretion, try it with all of their patients.  While this is not necessarily a “bad” treatment, I believe that we, as PT’s, should be better than this.

When I came out of PT school, I was eager to jump right in and try all these new & exciting manual techniques and exercises (for the purpose of this article I will obviously focus on the exercise aspect).  While my patients were getting better, I found my treatment plans were loaded with exercises, making it difficult to know what was beneficial, which ones may have been causing soreness, and which ones weren’t even necessary.  In addition, it was also making each patient’s treatment rather lengthy, which is not ideal when you practice in Long Island, NY where most of my patients are “limited on time.”

So, I went back to the research, followed some new professional blogs, and read books from different fields (physical therapy, strength & conditioning, business success, etc.) to see how I could better serve my patients.  Here are some of the key points that resonated with me:

Selecting Reps and Sets

If the leading strength & conditioning specialists have their healthy clients doing only 3-5 main exercises (not including a little assistive work) when strength training, why would we put our injured patient through 7, 8, 9… exercises for “3 sets of 10?”

Since an injured patient is not going to be able to tolerate the volume of a healthy strength-training individual, we should be implementing volume less than that (and increasing it as necessary).  And since when did 3 sets of 10 become the only way to exercise in a PT clinic.  If strength & conditioning specialists constantly change the reps/sets to fit the needs of their client, why aren’t we?  We should be altering the sets, repetitions, and resistance of the exercises to fit within that desired volume.

The Pareto Principle (80/20 rule)

In case you are not familiar with this principle, it states that, for most events, approximately 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.  I believe this is applicable to rehab exercises – 80% of our results probably come from 20% of the exercises we give to patients (or should come from 20% of the exercises).  This means that if you focus on the appropriate 3-4 exercises and cut out the rest, you will get similar results.  And, I believe, better satisfaction from your patients.

Integrating Recent Research

Research articles that studied EMG analysis of therapeutic exercises have provided us with better information regarding muscle activity during each exercise.

Among others, articles by Reinold et al, Ekstrom et al, & Ayotte (references at end of article) have shed light on common exercises we prescribe.  This allows us to re-evaluate the exercises we use and pick the ones that elicit the most desired muscle activity.  And just because these articles looked at numerous exercises, it does not mean that we should pick every “good” exercise they looked at – be selective and choose the most worthwhile exercises.

The Jam Experiment

rehabilitation exercisesIf you are unfamiliar with this experiment, here is a brief synopsis (officially titled, “When Choice is Demotivating: Can One Desire Too Much of a Good Thing?”).  Shoppers at a grocery store were presented with two different displays of jam – one had 6 flavors and the other had 24 flavors.  The results showed that 30% of people who visited the display with 6 jams actually purchased jam, while only 3% made a purchase after visiting the display that offered 24 jams.  (Photo by @joefoodie)

So, you’re probably asking, “How does this relate to rehab programs?”  Here is where I first noticed this idea – anecdotally, when providing patients with a home exercise program, the more you give them, the less likely they are to perform it.  Soon thereafter, I also became aware of it with regards to the exercise programs my patients went through.  The more exercises they did, the less likely they were to remember how to do them correctly and the less intense they did them.

“Perfection is not when there is no more to add, but no more to take away.”

One day, I came across this quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery and it definitely left an impression on me (personally and professionally).  All too often, I see new, more complex exercises being added to patients’ programs without taking the basic exercise out.  This becomes redundant, increases the volume, and lengthens the treatment time.  For example, if your patient is doing wall squats, sit-to-stands, and leg press for 3 sets of 10, cut out the more basic sit-to-stands and wall squats and focus on the leg press.  Do the leg press for 4-5 work sets and bump up the intensity.  I bet you’ll get similar results with less work.  This will free up time for important mobility/corrective exercises and more manual techniques.  And by no means do I think that my treatment plans are perfect, but this quote makes you think about things in a different way.

After taking all this into account, I began to “trim the fat” and re-designed my rehab programs.  I wanted my programs to be direct, efficient, easily understood, and reproducible (for after discharge).  So, I started giving my patients 3-4 exercises, frequently altered the reps/sets/weights as necessary (usually in the 4-5 work set range and 4-8 rep range), educated my patients on the reasoning/technique/progression of the exercises and…  TADA… the results were better than I had before.

Not only were the patients’ results better, but it also became easier for me to manage any problems that may arise.  And when fewer exercises were implemented, my patients were retaining the information and able to make decisions on their own.  Now, it’s not uncommon for me to tell my patient what exercise is next and after 5 minutes they’ll come up to me and tell me, “I warmed-up for 8 reps on 80 lbs, then did 2 sets of 8 at 100 lbs, 2 sets of 6 at 110 lbs and was only able to do 4 reps at 120 lbs.”  When your patients are making decisions (and the right decisions) without your help, you know you have done your job right.

I hope this article makes you think about how you design your treatment programs and sparks some discussion in your clinic.

 

References

  • Ayotte NW, Stetts DM, Keenan G, Greenway EH.  Electromyographic Analysis of Selected Lower Extremity Muscles During 5 Unilateral Weight-Bearing Exercises.  J Orthop Sports Phys,  2007;37:48-55.
  • Ekstrom RA, Donatelli RA, Carp KC.  Electromyographic Analysis of Core Trunk, Hip, & Thigh Muscles During 9 Rehabilitation Exercises.  J Orthop  Sports Phys,  2007;37:754-762.
  • Ekstrom RA, Donatelli RA, Soderberg GL.  Surface Electromyographic Analysis of Exercises for the Trapezius & Serratus Anterior Muscles.  J Orthop Sports Phys, 2003;33:247-258.
  • Ekstrom RA, Osborn RW, Hauer PL.  Surface Electromyographic Analysis of the Low Back Muscles During Rehabilitation Exercises.  J Orthop Sports Phys,  2008;38:736-745.
  • Ferriss, Timothy.  The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich.  Crown Publishing Group, 2007.
  • Iyengar SS, Lepper M.  When Choice is Demotivating: Can One Desire Too Much of a Good Thing?  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2000;79:995-1006
  • Reinold MM, Wilk KE, Fleisig GS, et al.  Electromyographic Analysis of the Rotator Cuff & Deltoid Musculature During Common Shoulder External Rotation Exercises.  J Orthop Sports Phys, 2004;34:385-394.

 

About the Author

Exercise Selection for Rehabilitation ProgramsDennis Treubig, PT, DPT, CSCS.  Dennis received his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Delaware in 2005 and has been practicing at ProHealth Physical Therapy in Lake Success, NY for the past 6 years.  He is also a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist by the NSCA and a Clinical Instructor for the Hofstra University Athletic Training Program.

 

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4 Things I Learned in 2012

4 Things I Learned in 2012

At the end of each year, I always try to personally reflect on what I had learned over the course of the year.  “Learned” may not always be the most accurate word, as this list usually contains things that I have adapted, tweaked, or refined, in addition to learned.  I find that this is both a great personal tool to assess growth as well as establish new goals for the following year.

So here is my list of some things that I learned in 2012.

Assessment is More Important Than Treatment

I have spent A LOT of time reflecting this year of how to best enhance my assessment process.  I’ve looked into as many assessment “systems” that I could find from all over the world.  As our understanding of human function continues to improve, it seems like movement assessment systems are becoming very popular.  I talked earlier about how a proper assessment and reassessment process is one of the most important things we need to do.  If we aren’t reassessing our patients’ and clients’ limitations after our programs, than why are we even working with them?  How do we know what is working, and what isn’t?

It seems that most of the movement assessment systems I have looked into place heavy emphasis on mobility and symmetry, and I must say that this is what I feel may be the most limiting quality of these systems.  Specifically, if you don’t have a system in place to assess alignment first, then assessing movement is limited and even sometimes inaccurate.

To me, this is next phase of assessment we need to conquer – properly assessing alignment.  I recently discussed the importance of alignment when considering the scapula and how alignment influences how we should be stretching.

In my search for the holy grail of assessment skills, I have used and adapted pieces of many systems, and I encourage you to do the same.  Everyone is different and not every system is a fit for us all.  I for one, don’t like to rely on just one tool, and prefer to combine what I have learned from many different people and schools of thoughts.

It’s Not All Just About Technical Skills

Most of us can all likely say that we are guilty of focusing too much on enhancing our technical skills and knowledge, while neglecting developing some of our other much needed skill sets.  I stated this recently in an article where I summarized some of the great qualities of experts in our fields, but I really do feel like our education process should include developing some of these qualities.

Realistically, we all work in a service industry and are providing a product to a consumer.  To deliver this as effectively as possible, it takes far more than knowledge.  It takes the ability to connect with people to truly enhance what we do.

We Need to Work Muscles in 3D

This is a really simple thought process, but something that I tried to focus on more recently.  I have heard quite a bit lately that exercises designed to isolate a movement and work on muscle strength are not “functional” and thus not worth performing.  I couldn’t disagree more, especially when a specific muscle has been shown to be weak or inhibited.  The efficacy of simple strengthening exercises has been well documented.  My shoulder patients are going to perform sidelying external rotation if the infraspinatus is weak.  It is going to be hard to enhance a poor movement patterns if muscle weakness is part of the deficiency.

However, I believe that using isolated movements is just the beginning of our programming.  Once strength is improved, the next step is to now work on strength of the muscle in three dimensions, or 3D, to train a better movement pattern.  What does this mean?  Think of the function of each muscle in every plane of motion.  Yes, there are prime movements for each muscle, but each muscle has a role in all three planes of motion.

This is the next step that I progress to prior to jumping to just “functional” exercises.  Here is my sequence:

Isolated Movement –> 3D Movement –> Functional Movement

The hips are a great example, and there are many examples of functional glute exercises that utilize this concept.  Try to think of each muscle and how it functions in all 3 planes of motion, then work 3D exercises into your programming.

Online Education is Officially My Go To Learning Resource

Over the course of the last decade, online education has really taken off.  I have always been a fan and supporter, but I think for the first time I now believe that online education is now officially my go to learning resource.  I still attend seminars and conferences, as the hands on component and networking is always important.  However, I now feel that this is the supplemental component, and that online education is my primary means of education.

I feel this way because we are now able to learn SO MUCH more with amazing content at our fingertips 24/7.  Realistically, unless you live in a major city or are willing to travel to one, it is hard to engage in learning from a wide variety of experts unless you embrace online education.  And speaking from the experience of an author, by the time you read a book or journal article, the information is already outdated.

That is one of the primary reasons that I think RehabWebinars.com and my Inner Circle are so valuable.  You can sit down and digest a brief bit of currently relevant information and apply it to your tool box immediately.  I love watching a 30 minute webinar at lunch or reading a new article while I am waiting somewhere.

Really, our ability to learn is only limited by how much effort we want to put into it.  I challenge everyone reading this to try this sequence of self-directed learning that I have been following myself with just an iPad:

  • Have one book to read that is NOT related to our clinical skills, work on your other skill sets, I try to read 1-2 per month.  HINT: You’ve probably figured it our by now, but most books like this have about 20% content and 80% stories to strengthen the content.  I don’t need the fluff, I read fast and get through more books this way.
  • Watch one webinar a week.  Subscribe to a resource that has a diverse amount of topics that you can digest quickly, like RehabWebinars.com.  That way you can vary the topics but whatever is on your mind that week or whoever you have on the schedule that day.
  • Read a couple of websites a day while drinking your morning coffee, eating lunch, or unwinding in bed.  I usually spend 10 minutes a day doing this and staying on top of what is been published on the internet.  Click here to learn my system of staying current.

If you follow this system, you’ll read about 12 books, watch 52 webinars, and stay on top of all the new content being published each day on the internet.  Keep going to seminars and conferences, but implement this and you’ll set yourself apart very quickly.

OK, so that is what I learned in 2012, what did you learn?

How to Stay Current with Evidence

How to Stay Current with Evidence

The latest webinar recording for Inner Circle members is now available below.

How to Stay Current with Evidence

In this month’s Inner Circle webinar, I discuss how you can set up a system to stay on top of all the latest news, articles, and research.    This is essentially the system I use to:

  • Keep an eye on new news, articles, and journal articles
  • Get custom emails when journal articles I am interested in get publish
  • Utilize things like Tweetdeck, Pinterest, and Youtube
  • Organize all of this in Evernote
  • Access everything from any computer, phone, or tablet with internet

To access the webinar, please be sure you are logged in and are a member of the Inner Circle program.

Qualities of Experts that We Should All Possess

Last week I shared with you a summary of a recent Facebook discussion we had regarding what you thought was our most important quality.  I Intentionally eliminated knowledge, experience, and technical skill in the discussion, as I was looking for different types of qualities.  The response was awesome, and there was a lot of great feedback.

I summarized the top qualities we need to possess at the end of the post.  Today, I want to review these qualities again and related them to experts in our fields that do a great job of exemplifying these qualities.  Not all of these people are in the rehab or fitness fields, and I haven’t met them all, but each have helped me either personally or through their work.  Using these experts as examples will help you learn each of these qualities even more, and hopefully allow you to start working on enhancing these skill sets.

Consider this article an introductory course that we all should of taken in college!

Qualities of Experts that We Should All Possess

If you have’t read last week’s article, go back and read that first.  It’s quick but serves as a good introduction into this summary.

Mark Verstegen – Passion and Charisma

Mark VerstegenMany people know Mark Verstegen as the founder of Athlete’s Performance or one of the Men’s Health experts.  While this certainly gives Mark quite a bit of credibility, if you have never had a chance to see Mark in action on the floor with athletes, you have missed the side of Mark that is his most contagious, his passion and charisma.  I have had several opportunities to visit Athlete’s Performance, and watching Mark in action is always the highlight.  Even though Mark has so many responsibilities and so many coaches at Athlete’s Performance, he spends the day bouncing back and forth between groups of athletes doing what he does best – coaching.  He is nonstop all day bouncing all over the place and being involved with everyone at the facility.  And this is a good thing, as Mark’s energy, passion, and charisma is contagious.  He’s not walking around chit chatting with clients or sipping coffee in his office, he is on the floor impacting.

Take home:  If you aren’t passionate about what you do and can’t charismatically show this, your patients and clients are missing a huge source of energy.  No matter how big you get or how many people you hire to delegate to, remember that it is your passion and charisma that drives your facility or clinic.  These qualities are contagious to your patients and clients.

Ken Crenshaw – Open Mindedness and Humility

Ken CrenshawKen Crenshaw is the Head Athletic Trainer of the Arizona Diamondbacks and someone I am proud to have had many chances to learn from.  Working in professional sports, your goal is different that many other circumstances.  We need to get our athletes out on the field every night and we don’t care how we do this.  It can be through manual techniques learned from Mulligan, Maitland, MDT, or anything else.  It can be an IASTM technique like Graston or ART.  It really doesn’t matter, because it’s not about you, it’s about the athlete.  It doesn’t matter if you subscribe to a certain theory or technique.  Don’t convince yourself that there is only one way and that you know everything.  One thing I know for a fact is that much of what we think we know now will change over time.  Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.  As Crenshaw says, be a mutt.  Take in as many different thoughts and perspectives as you can, it will only make your better.

Take home: Don’t have tunnel vision and think there is only one way to skin a cat and everything else is wrong.  Be a mutt.

Michael Boyle – Adaptability and the Passion to Always Learn

Michael BoyleAs many of my long time readers knows, the passion to always learn is one of the qualities I try to promote the most.  This goes hand in hand with adaptability.  If you are always learning, you better be adapting.  This goes back to the above comment that we will probably look back at what we are doing now and have a nice laugh in ten years.  Heck, maybe our great great great great grandchildren will laugh at us for the thinking the world was round!  There is a big difference between innovating and adapting.  Realistically, there aren’t a lot of innovators.  There just isn’t going to be another Steve Jobs anytime soon.  But that doesn’t mean that adapting is a bad thing.  I’m sure there isn’t anything I ever teach that is 100% unique, but rather a combination of adaptions I have made over time.  This is a great quality that Michael Boyle possesses.  Michael does a great job taking information from a ton of different sources and puts it together in a logical format.  This is adaption at it’s finest.  Michael also loves to write posts and lecture about what he has learned and mistakes he has made.  Again, adaptation at it’s finest, and he isn’t afraid to laugh at himself for what he used to think.

Take home: You don’t always have to try to innovate, adapting is often times just as needed.

Kevin Wilk – Integrate Evidence and Always ask “Why”

Kevin WIlkKevin Wilk is a friend, but more importantly a mentor.  Over the years, I was a clinical student of Kevin’s, a postgraduate fellow of Kevin’s, and a colleague of Kevin.  We have done a lot together over the years and I have always tried to emulate his ability to integrate evidence into our everyday practice.  This is where I learned about the power of asking “why.”  One goal I have always followed was to always have a rationale behind everything I do, every exercise, every technique, every set, every rep.  Push yourself to never do something just because “this is how I have always done it.”  For anyone that has attended one of Kevin’s seminar, you know he doesn’t ever stop integrated new evidence.  One of the biggest complaints that Kevin and I get from our lectures is that our slides don’t match the handouts.  What you probably don’t realize is that the handouts are due weeks to months prior to the course and we both literally update our slides all the time, including on the flight to the seminar!

Take home: Don’t every be satisfied with what we know and do.  Don’t stop learning and applying new evidence.  Always ask why you are doing everything you do.

James Andrews – Great Work Ethic and Accessibility

James AndrewsDr. James Andrews could be the most famous sports surgeon to date.  He has literally operated on leading athletes in every sport.  There are several reasons he rose to fame, and you can’t deny it has a lot to do with skill and people skills.  But an often overlooked quality is accessibility.  Andrews has made a career by always being accessible.  I can’t tell you how many evening, weekends, and even holidays I have had to call him and talk about a patient, and he always answers.  His work ethic is also second to none.  During my time there, he worked all week, covered a high school football game Friday night, both Alabama and Auburn on Saturday, and then the Redskins on Sunday.  He is always on.

Take home: Do you email or text your patients or clients to check in on them?  Do you answer the phone when they call?  Do you consider yourself “off work” at 5:00?  There always needs to be a personal and professional balance, but your work ethic and accessibility are often things that can really help you differentiate yourself.

Dale Carnegie – Good Communication and People Skills

Dale CarnegieThis could probably be one the most important qualities on the list – communication and people skills.  This is especially true in service industries like ours.  Our biggest referral source is always going to be word of mouth.  The better your people skills, the easier this is going to be.  One trick I learned from Dale Carnegie (out of many) was to always try to think from the other person’s perspective.  People are going to tell you what they want, you just have to stop and listen sometimes.  Stop thinking of what you want and focus on what your patient or client wants.  This almost always leads to what we want in the end!

Take home: Read Dale Carengie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.  This is the all time classic and a great place to start.  When you are done reading it, read it again.

John Maxwell – Positive Attitude

John MaxwellJohn Maxwell seems to publish a self-help book every other month!  While there are some typical leadership books,  one particular book that I really learned a lot from was The Difference Maker.  As you can guess, the difference maker is our attitude, and can be a positive or negative factor.  I’ll admit, I am from the northeast, we tend to focus on the negative.  For anyone that watched Seinfeld or listens to sports radio on the Boston area, you know what I am talking about.  So thinking negative and speaking negative is common and all around us, and not a good thing.  If you come to your clinic or facility with a negative attitude, who else do you think is going to have a negative attitude?  That is right, your patients and clients.  Attitude is contagious, start a trend of positivity and try your best to not let others around you bring you down.

Take home: Read Maxwell’s The Difference Maker and then make your positive attitude contagious.  Leave your bad day at the door.

Joe Ehrmann – Selflessness, Empathy, and Compassion

Joe EhrmannYou can see how qualities are starting to overlap a little bit.  Ehrmann, a former collegiate and NFL star, has written, at least in my opinion, one of the most influential books on coaching, InsideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transport Lives.  In this book, Ehrmann details his youth and rise through the ranks of football, and everything that went wrong along the way.  During this journey he shares how his perspective changed and how influential coaches can be.  Don’t be fooled into thinking this book only applies to sport coaches, if you are a therapist, athletic trainer, personal trainer, or strength coach, you are coaching people too.  Now if only all the Little League parents and coaches would read this book, perhaps we would have less Tommy Johns on 12 year olds.

Take home: Read Ehrmann’s InsideOut Coaching and reflect on how your interactions with patients and clients aren’t temporary and can impact their lives for years to come.  This will certainly make you think about how you “coach.”

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Our Most Important Quality?

A couple of months ago, I posed a simple question on Facebook – “Other than our technical skills, what quality do you consider the most important asset that we should possess to succeed in our fields?”

Interestingly, we all put a ton of time into improving our knowledge and technical skills, and that is always a good thing!  But perhaps we sometimes need to take a step back and work on some of the non-technical aspects of our professions to take us to the next level.

 

Your Thoughts

The response from that Facebook post was great, with many people providing fantastic input.  Here is a screenshot of that discussion:

Most Important Fitness Quality

Most Important Physical Therapists Quality

Most Important Quality

 

Our Most Important Qualities

Based on this, it looks like the group vote would be that the below qualities (in no particular order) are really something we should all possess:

  • Passion and charisma
  • Positive attitude
  • Humility and open mindedness
  • Good communication and people skills
  • Empathy, compassion, and selflessness
  • Good work ethic and accessibility
  • Adaptability and a passion for self development
  • Habit of continuously asking “why” and integrate evidence

Wow, I wish I knew all of this when I started my career!  This should really be a class we all have to take in college.  Please continue this discussion in the comments section below, I’d love to hear what you think and any other ideas you may have.

Next week, I’ll discuss what I feel are some the of the best qualities that many experts in our fields possess.  As you can imagine, there will be significant overlap!  More importantly, I’ll try to suggest who we can emulate and learn from to enhance these qualities in ourselves.  Maybe this will be a “home study” version of that college class we should of all had to take!

 

 

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