I'm a Doctor of Physical Therapy... with an elementary degree in parenting.
Posted by Liz Sims, PT, DPT - Redpoint Physical Therapy, Plymouth, MA
It was a long weekend, as full of fun as it was of tantrums. As a scientist-type, I tend to over-analyze things. Here’s what I’ve come up with this week:
I'm a doctor of physical therapy. While that grants me a wealth of knowledge in the clinic, I am constantly reminded that there is no degree in parenting. In order to call myself “Doctor”, I had to attend 3 years of schooling after my undergraduate degree, for a grand total of 22 years of schooling from start to finish. To call myself Mom, I attended one voluntary day class and shadowed nurses for 2 days in the hospital after I delivered....
As a doctor of physical therapy, I am constantly forced to make medical decisions to improve your health... yet, as a parent, I often struggle to convince my daughter that she needs to eat in order to survive, and that eating cat food or rocks does not count.
My degree in physical therapy requires me to have a strong understanding of physics, as it applies to the human body. But, for some reason, it doesn't seem to apply to my toddler, who is currently working on her ability to fly (apparently), jumping fearlessly off of anything and everything in her path - sometimes head first!
As a physical therapist, I understand how to make your body defy aging by improving your balance, strength, and general health through education, exercises, and manual therapy. But as a parent, I gain gray hairs and wrinkles daily due to the stress of owning a toddler.
Doctors of physical therapy are trained to analyze and pick apart research articles for statistical relevance. For the past 2 hours, I used my analytical skills to watch the same 4 episodes of "Sarah and Duck" in order to appease my daughter and her obsession with ducks.
My brain is filled to the brim with medical terminology, Latin word roots, and research findings. It is equally full of kids' song lyrics, nursery rhymes, and the opening theme songs to several of her TV shows.
Am I complaining? Absolutely not! I love my role as a mother. But it's amazing how inadequate my advanced degree is in the presence of a toddler. She doesn't care about research, and she doesn't call me “doctor”, she calls me “Mom”.
What does my doctoral degree grant me in the world of physical therapy?
Respect among my contemporaries as a musculoskeletal and kinesiology expert
The knowledge to screen for unrelated medical issues and appropriately refer to other professionals
Ability to analyze research articles for statistical strength and apply them to patients as appropriate
A large repertoire of treatments for an endless variety of diagnoses
A slight edge in scrabble, and medical or Latin categories in Jeopardy or Trivial Pursuit
What does a doctoral degree grant me in the eyes of a toddler?
Nothing, really... but she loves me, regardless :)
What roles do you play in life, and which one's your favorite?