Police Brutality and PT/OT Private Practice: What Can We Learn?

There are HUGE lesson for us to be learned as PT/OT’s in private practice.

There have been a lot of videos and images of law enforcement abusing their authority to the point of brutality. The videos and incidents are eliciting anger amongst the public. Many responding in protest and outrage.


It’s easy to blame the individual officers, the “foot soldiers” who are the main characters in the incidences. However, I don’t blame the individual entirely. It takes maturity and good judgement to wear a badge and many of the officers appear they are not “cut-out” for this line of work. They appear ill prepared for the qualifications required to be a public servant fighting crime and enforcing peace. The decision-makers (and higher-ups) need to be held more accountable for who they allow the honor of serving in this respectable profession. The supervisors need to exercise better training and preparing of their recruits. They need to be more accountable for the performance of those representing them.

One can argue that the low budgets don’t allow for proper training (or screening) of their recruits. But this is just an excuse.

The type of people that apply for this profession are not typically doing it for the money. If it were about money, there are many other occupations that pay much more for easier type of work. No, they do it for the honor and respect that comes along with wearing a badge. Money, or the lack of it, should not be an excuse to why performance is not stellar amongst this profession.

There are some who pursue this profession for the “authority” that comes along with it. If that’s the case, and the person exhibits the potential to abuse their authority, they should not be allowed to serve until better groomed. More rigorous training on how to exercise judgement and responsibility should entail or the recruit should be dismissed and not allowed the honor to be a public servant. Otherwise it’s inevitable that the public will suffer.

The supervisors and decision-makers need to be held more accountable or this respected profession will soon be tarnished and degraded to the point of no return.

So it is with your business as a physical therapist in private practice.

You have a duty to train your recruits to a higher performance. To teach them to exercise better judgement and more compassion. It takes responsibility and high skill to work with patients. People trust us with the sanctity of their health. It’s an honor to wear the badge as a “healthcare provider”. You, as the supervisor/decision-maker/business owner, need to assume the responsibility of your staff’s performance rather than saying, “He/she was a bad apple” when things go wrong.


Impose accountability upon yourself to exercise better judgement and TRAINING to those you recruit so they will represent you and our profession well. And if you do, the reward will be more honor and respect as a whole.

No excuses…”I don’t have time.” Or, “I don’t have enough money.” Training is a $300-$1000 per hour task. For every hour you spend training (on the right things) will lead to much more revenue over the next 30-90 days.

Start training your staff on the following:

1) It’s a privilege to care for patients and be in this profession. No complaints are allowed.

2) Exercise respect: Never should you badmouth a patient or referral source no matter how stubborn or cantankerous they get. If it were not for them, you’d have no business.

3) “It’s not what you do or say but how you make a person feel that matter’s most.” -Maya Angelou:  Don’t just “go through the motions” or merely render treatments. Make the patient feel important and empowered. And always serve with compassion.

4) Practice “Creative Service CareTM:  Nothing is impossible. Never say “no”; Never seek blame but rather solutions always.

5) You represent not only your organization but also our honorable profession: Leave your personal issues, problems, and insecurities at the door. Once you walk in you become a representative of everything we stand for and believe. You are called to heal, restore, and empower patients. Not the other way around.

Start training today.

Create this culture.

Watch your practice grow.

Witness lives being changed.



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James Ko

I believe... "It's not the strongest practices that survive and grow, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most adaptable to change." I'm a physical therapist, private practice owner, and founder of IndeFree Association. I like reading James Patterson, Nicholas Sparks, enjoy golfing and playing guitar. I love playing with Mac and Cozy! For over 15 years, I've helped thousands of practices grow and succeed. This is my dedication.

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