Cindy Schlafmann, a physical therapist and manager at TRIA Orthopaedic Center in Bloomington, talks about her job. She discusses why she chose a career as a physical therapist, what a typical workday is like, and how her role fits into the bigger healthcare picture.
Q: What's a typical workday like for you?
I typically treat eight to 10 patients, many who have had injuries such as patellar dislocation, or are recovering from surgery, such as for a torn ACL. I also treat older patients learning to use crutches to prepare for surgery. As manager, I also take calls from patients and attend a fair number of meetings.
Q: How does your role fit into the bigger healthcare picture?
My role is very patient-centered. Listening to them intently helps me understand their concerns and limitations. I am a movement specialist. My goals are to return patients to their prior functional level, maximize every visit and make it a valuable session. In Minnesota we have direct access allowing a patient to come directly to physical therapy without a physician's order for 90 days. This benefits many patients.
Q: Who do you interact with during the course of the day?
I interact with patients and their families, other physical therapists, physicians and the TRIA management team.
Q: Why did you become a physical therapist in sports medicine?
I tore my ACL in high school and had two surgeries followed by rehabilitation. I have always been an athlete and currently compete in triathlons. I feel I am compassionate, caring and patient. Our patients are in pain and these qualities are needed when helping patients in their recovery.
Q: What do you like about your work?
I love the active population and the challenge of explaining why we're doing what we're doing as well as explaining their responsibilities for recovery. I like to see patients succeed, and I play an important role with setting and achieving their goals.