As medical providers, the line between competence and confidence is crossed everyday. In your 'strong topics,' it is easy to be competent. When a patient asks a question regarding their knee pathology, you likely knows the anatomy, type of tear, and treatment progression. But what if the patient asks a question regarding a new knee surgery that he has been reading about? As the expert, you should be knowledgeable regarding the procedure, but maybe you have forgotten to open the past few editions of JOSPT. How do you respond to the question?
After working with several students, it is clear that confidence is nearly as important as competence. In the example above, you may not have the entire answer, but the demeanor in which you present yourself completely changes the context of the answer. In several situations, a student has answered a patient's question, and the patient turns to me to get a second opinion. Almost always, the students answer is correct. The patient wants a second opinion because he knows the student was hesitant in his/her response.
Ideally, confidence and competence would grow together- the more you learn, the more confident you become. Realistically, it takes multiple repetitions in the clinic to become confident in your interactions with patients. Building trust in the patient can be a difficult task. You must be honest with your patients, but your demeanor can greatly change the outcome of the patient interaction. The video below is not physical therapy related, but it sends a good message regarding body language.
How do you carry yourself? What is your body language in the clinic? How is your body language affecting your patient interactions?
James Heafner PT, DPT, OCS:
Owner and lead physical therapist at Heafner Health, cash-based physical therapy in Boulder, CO. Areas of expertise include orthopedic and manual therapy, functional movement, pain science, and movement science.
In May 2013, I earned my Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Saint Louis University. After graduating from the Harris Health Systems Orthopedic Residency in October 2014, I moved to Boulder, CO. Since living in Boulder, I have started my own cash-based PT practice, earned my OCS certification, and teach for the OPTIM Fellowship and COMT program in Houston TX and Scottsdale, AZ.
Chris Fox PT, DPT, OCS: Physical therapist at Foothills Sports Medicine & Physical Therapy in Scottsdale, AZ and regularly lectures at the Phoenix Campus for NAU's DPT program and for Optim Manual Therapy's COMT program. Completed multiple advanced manual therapy courses implementing aspects of biomechanical analysis. He received his DPT from Saint Louis University in 2013. Completed Scottsdale Healthcare's Orthopaedic Residency (now Honor Health) in July 2014. He became a Board Certified Orthopaedic Specialist in 2015. Level I Expert in FMS and SFMA , Kinetacore FDN Level 1 certification, and IASTM Technique course completion. He would like to pursue further education in McKenzie Technique, Dry Needling, Strength & Conditioning, Orthopaedic and Manual Therapy.
Brian Schwabe PT, DPT, SCS, CSCS:
- Board Certified Sports Physical Therapist (SCS) at Elite OrthoSport in Santa Monica, CA which specializes in treating collegiate/professional athletes and clientele from the Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and Santa Monica areas.
- USC Sports Residency Trained Physical Therapist (<1% of all PT's residency trained)
- DPT from Saint Louis University
- Future plans/interest include:
1. USAW, SFMA & Catapult Systems technology for NBA teams
2. Pursuing a position as a sports physical therapist &/or Strength coach for a Division 1 athletic medicine department or professional sport team.
|The Student Physical Therapist||
Always evolving, Always learning