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Narrative Reflections

Empathy

In this artfully crafted poem, Jamie Fleshman makes a strong distinction between the shallow demands of sympathy and the far deeper mutual understanding that evolves from genuine empathy. She speaks authentically from her own experience, giving moving, useful instruction to those who want to come alongside....

Climbing Back into the World

In her stark and direct poem, Kirsten Woodend details the “multitude of indignities” that someone “in the process of body repair” can suffer. She notes how a person in recovery becomes a child in others’ eyes, “incapable of coping mentally or physically.” The poem asks why these extra psychological burdens must be added to the healing process....

Patient Care During a Pandemic: The Significance of Humanism in Healthcare

How does a student cope with isolation during a forced four-month break from clinical rotations? Olivia Wolfe enrolled in an online course, Humanism in Health and Healthcare. Its impact inspired her to use her “voice and privilege to uplift and support essential causes fighting the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and racism.” She details her journey to a new commitment to humanism at home and in the clinic....

A Journey Toward Mindfulness

In "A Journey Toward Mindfulness," Kelsey Robinson, SPT describes the steps she took to turn the effects of a crippling racist remark into a positive force for self-discovery. Rather than holding in her pain and self-doubt, she accepted an invitation to tell her story to young people. “In the process, I found my voice,” she notes. She encourages others to do the same. “Someone needs you,” she states. “The trials you face today will become your strength tomorrow as a clinician.”...

The Fragility of Life: Through Service I Live

In an honest case study from his residency year, Corey Nolte shows how “my narrow-minded understanding of the resiliency of the will to live was expanded.” As his terminally-ill cancer patient became more frail and less willing to accept treatment, they shared a tender, intimate moment of prayer. Nolte offered comfort through his patient’s final days. By carefully supporting end-of-life wishes, he notes, “we can help to unburden patient angst and give direction to our own moral compass.”...

Why Was I So Afraid?

In this thoughtful piece, Dr. Regina Kaufman tells of an encounter with a man in a checkout line who remembered that she was his physical therapist more than 30 years ago. Describing the man’s “relatively cool” demeanor, she expresses her fear that perhaps his memory of his treatment was not a completely positive one. She tries to recall the level of care she was able to provide as a novice, and notes that wisdom can only truly develop over time....

Vulnerability in Sports and Orthopedic Medicine

In her narrative reflection, Kate Mihevc Edwards presents her honest self-portrait as an avid runner whose life -- and very identity -- were altered by injury. But experiencing the vulnerability of losing her very sense of self proved to be a gift over time, she reports. "The work I put in to help me survive and cope made me a better clinician," she states. She shows how her loss helped her to develop a deeper understanding of the importance of empathy in healthcare....

My Father’s Journey: A Reading and Interview with Susan S. Deusinger, PT, PhD, FAPTA

In a poignant personal account, Susan Deusinger details her father's final months and his ultimate decision to take charge of his own death process. Although his passing left a void in her life, she notes that he also gave her "the privilege of honoring his beliefs and supporting his choices -- something we don't always have the opportunity to do as clinicians." A video interview accompanies this piece, in Deusinger's own words....

Beyond Words

In her essay, “Beyond Words,” Amanda Kaufman, PT, DPT illustrates how providing a space for her patient to tell her full story, during one of her darkest moments, and listening carefully, established the trust that allowed their healing work together to begin....

Out of Oxygen

In this sensitive reflection, DPT student Mercedes Aguirre describes an incident during her first clinical experience that taught her the importance of taking a deep breath—and speaking up on behalf of one’s patient....

“The Best is the Enemy of the Good”

The healthcare professions often attract talented, committed perfectionists. But what can practitioners do when that perfectionism negatively affects rehabilitation? In “The Best is the Enemy of the Good,” David Gillette describes how his PT residency experience, and the thoughtful guidance of his mentors, helped him confront the negative aspects of his perfectionism and turn his thoughts toward the good....

Human Anatomical Gifts and Informed Consent: Three Perspectives

The United States abides by the Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act to regulate bodies donated to science; prior consent must be given. When DPT students at Georgia State University had the opportunity to attend an anatomic exhibition displaying preserved human specimens from another country, many ethical questions arose. In "Human Anatomical Gifts," three writers offer their perspectives, developed during the discussions that ensued, on the ethics of anatomic study—and exhibition....

Pitfalls and Pearls of Persistent Pain

As the subject of chronic pain and its treatment has become crucially important in today’s healthcare and rehabilitation environments, we offer the accounts of three physical therapists who have encountered patients with persistent pain and learned valuable lessons in the process. The article shows how a humanistic approach—involving factors such as trust, shared decision-making, and empathy—can add a psychosocial dimension to the treatment of chronic pain, and work to achieve more lasting results....

Student Essay Contest Winner: Mrs. Z

Congratulations to Creighton Doctor of Physical Therapy Program graduate student, Hayley Rieger, the winner of the inaugural physical therapy essay contest, co-sponsored by the ACAPT Consortium for the Humanities, Ethics, and Professionalism (CHEP) and JHR! She reflects how her patient taught her that “helping someone reach their full potential means hearing the song in their heart and finding a way to sing it back.”...

The Other Side of the Bedrail

After nearly 20 years of clinical practice, physical therapist Mary Pugh Alligood finds herself reflecting on lessons learned from the other side of patient care and poignantly describes her experiences after a diagnosis of inoperable brain cancer tumor and colostomy surgery....

Remnants of Her

Program Director in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Southern Mississipi, Dr. Holly Huye shares a poignant reflection of her mother’s struggles with dementia and a family’s dedication to preserving memories....
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