Improving Lives, One Patient at a Time

July 27, 2011

I have been an athlete most of my life, playing the big three -  basketball, baseball, and football -  in high school and the latter two sports at the collegiate level. Athletics lead me to appreciate the power and complexity of the human body as I experienced injuries and rehabilitation while participating in sports.  I originally wanted to become a medical doctor in orthopedics, but through clinical experience came to acknowledge that I belonged in the field of physical therapy.  I wanted that close relationship with other people; to make them smile and laugh.  I have been given this opportunity through Bradley University, and the program has done an outstanding job in preparing me for the rigors of the real world. I want to personally thank the Department of Physical Therapy and Health Science faculty as well as my wife, Katie, and my parents, John and Lori Bennett, for their support; keeping me honest with every decision regarding this life-changing career path.

paul-bennett

This summer I have been splitting time between two Premier Healthcare Physical Therapy Service sites in Germantown Hills and Willow Knolls in Peoria.  A typical day on the job begins with me arriving to work one hour early to research patients to be seen for the day. This consists of developing a daily plan of care regarding their therapeutic management.  I then evaluate and treat patients from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.   The timeslot between 12 p.m. and 12:45 p.m. is for catching up on paperwork and documentation.  Lunch and monthly in-service presentations on current evidence for the treatment of patients with various diagnoses takes place between 12:45 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.  I then see patients in the afternoon until 6 p.m., and usually pack up to go home by 6:30 or 7 p.m., then take an hour break to watch Cardinals baseball.  Then it’s back to the books.  I work four ten-hour days each week that often turn into 12-hour shifts.

At Premier Physical Therapy, I have learned to be a top-notch physical therapy student, a colleague, a counselor, and a friend with all people with whom I interact.  I have treated an age group ranging from 10 years to 90 years old.  Boy, is it fun to work with the elderly, listening to their life stories and unleashing my competitive nature when working with athletes.  I have participated in land-based therapy mostly but have also done aquatic therapy.  I have treated patients with brain injury, vestibular/balance impairments, orthopedic injury, and Parkinson’s disease.  On one particular day, I was a physical therapist treating patients, an educator giving an in-service to my colleagues, an inspector checking our fitness equipment for safety, and a good Samaritan walking an elderly patient to the beauty salon next door. The field of physical therapy has taught me to listen rather than talk and I stand true to the motto, “Patients do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  I am where I want to be, providing a shoulder for others to lean on no matter the weight of the challenge!