Passion in Practice

Two interactions this last week got me thinking. The first was a patient who said “your Instagram must be good for business”. I guess in some ways it is, but that was never my primary intention with social media. The second interaction was from a physio account I follow (that I LOVE and think will really help drive the profession forward). They posted a question about the service mindset of physio: is your main desire to help people or is your main desire to make money?

I probably spend 65-70 hours a week on physio related tasks. Between treating patients, research, studying, all my time is based on improving my skills. There is no way I could do that, devote that much time if I wasn’t passionate about it. Yes I’m passionate about physio, but I’m more passionate about helping people. Physio is just a really cool, fun way to do it.

The second I start thinking in terms of business or money is the second I suffer and don’t enjoy myself. My patients can tell, and I can tell. I guess it sounds simple, but I feel like this goes for any profession. If you devote yourself to providing an honest product that you are passionate about, it is the best business model you could come up with.

A popular physio on twitter (who is known for not using manual therapy) posed the question: what if physios were paid on outcomes vs return visits. I get what they are saying, but honestly if you’re a physio who is not trying to maximize patient outcomes in every single visit you are a disservice to the profession and I don’t know how you enjoy your work day.

Yes, short term you will have less business when you maximize what a patient can do without you. You will show people how to manage their symptoms on their own, you will increase their confidence in their regular activities… you will empower the patient to feel in charge of their pain and function. People get better faster, and they don’t need you. That should always be the goal.

Long term, patients appreciate and value honesty. They value that you empowered them. They refer on. So yeah, I guess this makes sense as a long term business plan. However, the best business plan in the first few years of being a physio is throwing any thoughts of a business plan out the window. Just focus on being the best for your patients, in every single interaction.

Social media absolutely exhausts me and I hate it, if I think in terms of followers or business. If I think of it as a resource for patients and for people learning about what to expect from physio, I love it again. Perspective changes everything. So, new physios… the best advice I can give is that your perspective is on your patient. And try surround yourself with patient-minded physios, whether in real life or social media.


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