3 Tips to Find Passion in Your Physical Therapy Career

Meredith Castin, DPT and Sara Cates, PT, DPT sat down to discuss tips on how to find passion in your physical therapy career. Incorporating your interests into your work in the clinic will help you obtain underlying self-fulfillment in your career.

1. Make sure you have something in common with the people you’re treating

The first tip is one of the simplest: make sure that you’re interested in what you’re doing! Sara Cates has a sports medicine background, and uses that to connect with her patients. This also means listening to your patients and discovering what’s important to them.

2. Keep a flexible mindset

Even when your background is similar to your patients’, however, you’ll find yourself treating people with very different lifestyles than your own. Staying flexible means listening to your patients’ goals and needs, even when your personal tastes (in Sara’s experience, for CrossFit!) run in a different direction. Knowing what matters to your patients will help you prioritize their goals.

3. Make time for yourself

Physical therapists spend so much time giving other people exercises and care, and can find themselves arriving home exhausted and in pain. It’s especially important at times like these to practice good self-care. “You have to do your own flexibility, you have to do your own strengthening, your own cardio, so you can actually practice what you preach,” Sara Cates says. Don’t forget: practicing self-care allows you to care for others! This is especially important when it comes to avoiding burnout as a physical therapist.

About Sara M. Cates, PT, DPT, HHP

Sara Cates
Sara is a licensed physical therapist and a nationally certified massage therapist/ holistic health practitioner who has been practicing physical therapy since 2010. She received her doctoral degree from USA (San Diego) with undergraduate education at SDSU (San Diego) where she competed Track & Field/ Cross Country. Sara’s experience is extensive in outpatient sports medicine setting emphasizing biomechanics. She also is versed in pediatric and acute care. She is a certified Graston Technique provider and certified Clinical Instructor with a real passion for teaching. Sara is native to Carlsbad, CA and enjoys training for endurance sports such as triathlon and running. Her varied experiences in the practice of physical therapy has helped her develop a unique combination of manual skills with a holistic approach of treating the mind, body, and spirit of her patients and athletes. “The most gratifying part about my job is helping someone find inner strength and commitment to themself to overcome injury or attain a personal goal.”

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