Saturday, August 21, 2004

Knocked on my Butt

I hit a road block today at work. Well not a block I guess, maybe a speed bump, or a reality check. Not so sure what to call it except I feel like I've been knocked on my butt.

Today, a patient's family told another therapist that they didn't want me to work with the patient anymore because I was too aggressive, and basically, because I wasn't telling them what they wanted to hear, but not in so many words...

I didn't do anything wrong, this was a particularly difficult patient with a brain injury, made even more difficult by an extremely difficult and unrealistic family I'm not going to go into the details, but the family isn't being realistic about the patients needs and deficits. Physically he's doing fine but he's having a lot of cognitive issues, and they're only seeing the physical.

I spoke at length with the therapist who treated the patient today, and according to her, I didn't do anything wrong, I just didn't do it the way the family wanted and that upset them, and I sometimes with difficult patients and families need to take a step back and do things differently than normal to please the patient's and their families to get anything out of the patient. To be the coach, not the leader. To guide them through the therapy, not say do this my way all the time. And that's great advice. This therapist has been practicing longer than I've been alive, and she's awesome, which is why I scheduled her to see the patient and also why I sought her advice.

So ok, I didn't do anything wrong, but if I had done it right the first time I would have easily worked with he patient and not had this problem. And I'm usually not so bad with problem patients. And I'm fine with not treating him again, because I don't particularly WANT to deal with the family and the patient, especially because I haven't seen a lot of brain injury patients, and I don't feel like I have sufficient experience. So that part is ok. It's the part of being told that I'm bad and they don't want me, it's the being rejected, it makes me wonder if I'm doing anything wrong in other areas... I want to be a good therapist, I want to do things right!

I want to just plain learn from the experience. I'm a new therapist and I want to learn and grow from my road blocks. And I hope in 30 years from now I still hit them because they are healthy, and they help you to grow and to learn and to be a better therapist. But I still feel knocked on my butt. Maybe I'm being too hard on myself. I dunno.

Maybe the knocked on the butt feeling is just natural, but still, for now it doesn't make it any better.

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