Burnt Out? Find Daily Inspiration

In honor of National PT Month in October, we chose to celebrate what inspires physical therapists. Last month, we asked the PT community to share their motivation, what keeps them going on the hardest day. Here are a few selected results:


“Every day when I go to work I feel blessed to have a wonderful job that helps me to help others to feel better with my touch, my presence; with their pain, able to move better. Every single day I make some difference in somebody’s life and if I am having a bad day there are these amazing patients who help to uplift myself when I see them smile and when they are so thankful for me being there, and when I see a person who is upset and is angry I feel blessed that I am there to help him/her feel better and me being thankful for wonderful health that we have.”
Indira from Indiana


“Being able to help improve the lives of people by improving their mobility, strength and function. Every day I get to see eyes light up in a sudden dawning of awareness of how to move with increased ease and less pain…that never gets old!”
J from Michigan


“I find great satisfaction in helping others improve their overall levels of functional mobility and quality of life”
Peter from Maryland


Finding your motivation can be difficult some days.  Everyone feels frustrated or discouraged in their jobs at some point.  If this happens to you, there are a few things you can do to reinvigorate your day to day routine.

Explore new Continuing Education options

When it’s time to complete your CE hours, explore some options for a new certification, or learning a topic you haven’t looked into before. A new certification will not only teach you a new skill set, but it makes you a more versatile and well-rounded clinician.

If you want to be strategic about getting a new certification, do some research to find out what patients in your area most commonly need, or what specialty may be lacking. For example, if golf is a popular sport in your area, you might want to look into getting a Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) Certification, which specializes in training golfers.

Set a new goal for yourself

No matter your experience level, you can always find a goal in your career to work toward. Perhaps you’d like to learn a new specialty, write a blog, read more research articles, attend a conference,  or even become a clinic manager.

Whatever your goal, you can accomplish it the SMART way. ‘SMART’ stands for Specific, Measurable. Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

The first step of achieving any goal is to define it. Be specific about what you want. Specificity will help you clearly focus on your goal. When defining your goal, you must make sure it’s attainable. If your current goal seems overwhelming, try breaking it down into smaller goals.

To make sure your goal is relevant, think about the big picture. What will the accomplishment of this goal do for you? How does it fit into your life?

One of the most important aspects of defining a goal is to define your metrics. You need to measure your success. If your goal is specific enough, it will be obvious how you can measure whether you’re meeting it. Measuring your progress will help keep you accountable, and gives you important feedback on whether your tactics are working.

Finally, you should set a deadline for yourself. For some people, deadlines are strong motivators. Making sure your goal is time-bound sets a clear endpoint to check your achievement.

Write down the reasons you chose this career path

When was the moment you realized you wanted to be a physical therapist? What are some of the things that drew you to PT in the first place? Write out a list of these reasons, and post it somewhere you can see every day. This will be a small daily reminder of what’s really important to you.

Talk to your patients

Your patients are the center and purpose of your practice. Whether you’re new to the field or a veteran, your work has made a difference in someone’s daily life.  Rehab may be something you do every day, but for each of your patients, it has the potential to improve their lives in a long-lasting and meaningful way.

Think back to one of your greatest outcomes with a patient. If you’ve developed an exceptional relationship with a patient and you feel comfortable doing this, give them a call. Check in to see what progress they’ve made on their own, and let them know you care about their wellbeing. A simple check in could make that person’s day, and remind you what a difference you can make in someone’s life.

Share the love

If you’ve found something that keeps you going through the hard days, share it with your community. Chances are, that one thing – whether it’s a new certification, patient success, or a personal story – could be the very inspiration someone else is searching for.  Share your thoughts on social media, or better yet, share your story here with our PT blog community.

Blogging is a great way to make your voice heard, engage your professional community, and inspire others. If you’re interested in contributing to TherapySpark, whether as a guest writer, or with a brief PT topic interview, let’s talk.