26 Jun Who do I see and why?
So you have a niggle, ache or pain. One friend says see an Osteopath, the other a Chiropractor, the other a Physio and so on……
For me (with 15 years clinical experience), its more fundamental than this. I know lots of chiropractors that work like osteopaths, and osteopaths that work like physios.
Therefore its not always the discipline the practitioner practices that is important, its the practitioner themselves.
So here is my checklist for finding the right practitioner/therapist for you;
1) Are they qualified in a respected field, do they have the qualifications/experience in the extra field you require from a respectable college/university and are all there accreditation’s and insurances up to date.
Any decent practitioner will have these all taken care of and will be actively involved in continued professional development (CPD) at levels well beyond there regulators requirements. For eg. Osteopaths have to undertake 30 hours of CPD a year to satisfy the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC).
2) Word of Mouth recommendation.
Luckily for most of the practitioners at Goring Beach Clinic, our reputations have led this to be the primary source of new patients into the clinic. Ask your friends and family. Ask how they work, what they do, what they expect from you as a patient, are they good guys? Understand there professional skill sets.
3) Use the web but don’t let it limit your decision.
Use the websites sites to add flavour to your decision to see a particular therapist. Its not the full recipe! Websites are ultimately sales tools to drive people to your site and ultimately to use your service. Do you like a hard sell? I personally don’t and would rather give people the information to make up their own minds as to whether our clinic is right for them.
4) Ask to have a chat with the Practitioner/Therapist once you have done your homework.
A busy therapist will have highly skilled reception staff. Unfortunately these may not give you the info,vibe or feeling that your after. Ultimately they are not going to look after you. A good therapist, when convenient, will make time for you to discuss any questions you may have. Ask things like;
a) How do you work? What type of techniques do you use?
b) Do you have experience working with people like me with my problem? What should I expect?
Then ask yourself the simple questions; What are they like? Did they sound nice? Good sense of humor? Apologies if this is starting to sound like a dating site CV but, short of Pyschometric testing, you are trying to find a practitioner you can be open and honest with.
Equally, a quick conversation with someone can sometimes identify that another practitioner may be better suited. Only yesterday I recommended a new caller to the clinic to another Physiotherapist in the area as she provided a service more suited to the patients needs. We can’t be right for everyone!
5) Remember, the relationship is more important than the CV!
Don’t get bogged down in someones long list of accomplishments as great as they are. Research has found that effective Practitioners build strong therapeutic relationships with their patients based on good inter-personal skills of empathy, warmth, acceptance, and a strong ability to identify and problem and resolve it effectively.
A good practitioner will identify what is the best course of action for you and initiate it. Sometimes this will be treatment with them or they may need to refer you to another clinician or hospital for extra diagnostic procedures.
The memoirs of a health practitioner are always a great read. They often tell the stories of relationships that have been built between patients and their practitioner’s, often through the thick and thin, and highs and lows of life over many years. The best practitioner/patients relationships are brought about by mutual honesty, openness and trust. This is why I personally love my job!
Copyright Author: Dean Dickinson
Chartered Physiotherapist & Registered Osteopath