Huge thanks to Dr. Scot Morrison PT, DPT for his insights.
Scot Morrison is a physical therapist and strength coach who started his undergraduate career as an engineering major. He quickly realized he was spending all his free time researching human performance and moved on to exercise science. After graduating with honors in 2008, he began working for a hospital based medical fitness center in South Florida where he was in the development and implementation of a variety of programs with a focus on childhood obesity, Parkinson's Cardiac rehab, and corporate health. During this time he also resumed his schooling and graduated with honors from the University of St. Augustine as a Doctor of Physical Therapy. As part of his DPT Scot completed advanced manual therapy training and has continued to learn with a focus on the approaches of the Maitlaind-Austrailan and McKenzie groups. It is also mentionable that he is the co-host of a popular podcast PT Inquest.
- How was the transition/learning curve coming out of school and starting your first job?
Physio was a change in career instead of a first job and so my thoughts here are influenced by previous experiences. I feel this is worth clarifying because I have had conversations with new grads in the past that ended with the realization that the areas they were finding challenging were universal to anyone working regardless of the specific career. So for me the biggest focus has been on developing a systematic thought process to apply to my clinical decision making. This is something that I feel is very important but also requires a fairly significant investment in both time and thought. The degree gives a base level of knowledge but learning to apply this in a person first, defensible, and fluid manner is one that I am still working on. There are obviously aspects that are less desirable (paperwork anyone?) but all in all I have found the process a challenging yet very rewarding one. I have really learned a lot from the clinical thought process taught by Maitlaind and would strongly encourage every new clinician to spend some time reading anything by Mark Jones and Darren Rivett. I have also made a very deliberate effort to develop relationships with a number of clinicians I respect and this has been enormously rewarding to me as a professional as well as an individual. Two specifics areas that I have been focusing on always seem to have another level of work needed; the idea of becoming brilliant at the basics and yet ensuring my treatment is adapted to the patients narrative identity so that we can "create an experience the patient cares about" to quote Mattingly.
- What is your work load like and what is typical day is like for you?
The clinic I am at currently is a private practice with myself and the two co-owners working as clinicians. The load will vary somewhat but we try to get 45-60 minutes for evaluations and followups are kept to 45 minutes when possible but occasionally we do 30 minutes depending on the patients needs and availability. I tend to see my patients throughout the course of their treatment since continuity of care is something that we feel is important. All treatments are one-on-one as well. These were all things I was looking for clinically and I have to say that it has been a great experience being able to treat in this manner. Our caseload is widely varied which I also looked for since I feel it is important to develop as a "T shaped" individual having experience across a wide domain with expertise focused on a particular area. So a typical day would be a mix of patients dealing with a wide variety of orthopedic and occasionally neurological issues.
- What do you wish you would have known/been prepared for after graduating?
You know, I walked into the profession with my eyes somewhat open so I haven't had any huge wake up moments but I am sure they will come. I would say on a positive note I wish I would have known how generous with time and information so many of the professionals we all look up to are. I would have been less hesitant about reaching out to them!
- What is compensation like/managing student loans?
To get on a soapbox briefly here the Physio profession is significantly underpaid for the time investment. I see a lot of argument about the DPT and whether or not it was necessary - I have a few opinions there but the reality of the situation is that we have the DPT now and it is at a cost largely shouldered by the newer professionals. The same ones who are also walking into the shrinking reimbursement rates the profession has been dealing with for a while now. To me this should be extra incentive for us to be involved with our professional body and do everything we can to push the profession forward. I would hate to look back at the end of my career and find that we paid the price we are without doing everything possible to maximize our return. Managing student loans? Well thankfully there is home health on the side for that.
- Additional Thoughts
I think it is important to be thoughtful in your practice, skeptical in your acceptance, and curious in your outlook as a Physio. Always question but don't be afraid to explore. I encourage everyone to network (twitter is great for this) and to engage with those you disagree with regularly to challenge your own beliefs. Embrace the discomfort that goes along with growth since we owe ourselves and our patients a narrative that develops into a story that we can care about.
Huge thanks to Dr. Scot Morrison! Find out more about him on twitter @scotmorrsn. Also take the opportunity to hear some of his insights on his podcast at ptpodcast.com
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