I am a 2011 graduate of LSU’s College of Human Sciences & Education, specifically from the School of Kinesiology. My focus within the School of Kinesiology was Human Movement Science, and I initially was interested in pursuing a career in physical therapy. I began work as a PT tech in 2009 in an outpatient clinic, where I aided people physically and emotionally, and where I marveled at how therapy restored function to people’s lives. As soon as I started working as a PT tech, I knew I wanted to be a part of rehabilitation – the work that therapists do is inspiring!! But over time, I realized that I desired more autonomy in patient care, and I also enjoyed the content of medicine itself. These factors eventually prompted me to switch my focus from physical therapy to medicine.
But initially, the switch was bittersweet – I thought that by changing from physical therapy to medicine, I would have to forfeit significant patient contact as well as the opportunity to see patients recover day-to-day before my very eyes. This stinging notion remained with me until, during my fourth year of medical school, I discovered the field of Physiatry (also known as Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation or PM&R).
PM&R focuses on maximizing quality of life and function in a patient suffering from a significant medical condition. Physiatrists practicing in a hospital commonly treat patients who have sustained strokes, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and amputations. In the outpatient setting, physiatrists frequently focus on sports medicine and pain management.
After completing a number of rotations in this field, I’ve realized that PM&R has everything I desire in a medical specialty: the chance to forge meaningful relationships with patients, the prospect of seeing patients improve functionally on a daily basis, and the ability to collaborate with a multitude of healthcare professionals (including physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, nurses, and social workers). This special field of medicine speaks to my deepest passions: namely, to help people physically, to motivate others, and to build bonds with those I serve.
For these reasons, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is perfect for me. PM&R necessitates a creative approach to a functional dilemma, while also providing countless opportunities for motivation and meaningful relationships with patients. I’ve always yearned for those aspects of patient care, and I can have them in PM&R. I can’t think of any other specialty that would fit me better.