By: Bart Jones, PT, DPT
August of 2020 marks my 35th year as a physical therapist here in Central Louisiana! What a humbling and spectacular experience it has been. The old saying that the older you get, the faster time goes is certainly true. It amazes me to think back how quickly the last 35 years have gone, but yet, how long ago that seems to be.
I came to Alexandria as a new PT, fresh out of school. I only knew a few people in Alexandria and didn’t really plan to stay here long term. I guess I didn’t really know what I was doing, because here I am 35 years later and glad I stayed. I have made a life here in Alexandria with a beautiful wife and 2 great college girls. In my early years in Alexandria, I made a quick connection with the community at large, primarily through my work as a PT, but also through my past times of running and golf. I have had the pleasure of meeting, treating and socializing with some great people that have enriched my time here. The blessings of this life are innumerable.
The changes in our profession have been pretty dramatic. When I graduated PT school in 1985, I got a bachelor’s degree. Now, the new PT grads are earning doctorate degrees in physical therapy. I was fortunate enough to be able to go back and get my doctorate in 2010. Early in my career, we did traditional outpatient PT, but we also did quite a bit out on the road. We carried beepers and I knew where all the pay phones were in case I needed to make a call. There were no cell phones, no laptop computers, very few computers at all. We actually typed reports. We also did all of our paperwork by hand, from documenting patient visits, to charges and billing. Those were the early days of MRI, arthroscopy and joint replacements. All of which are commonplace now.
Some quick math tells me that I have evaluated over 15,000 people and have had over 150,000 patient visits in these 35 years. And those encounters, by in large, have made me a better PT, community representative and a better person. It’s funny how you think back and certain patients or situations stick out in your mind. Each of these encounters has shaped me into the physical therapist I am now. I have had the pleasure of treating 3 or 4 generations in the same family. Some people I worked with early on that were in high school, I’m now treating their college age kids and even their grandchildren!
I have been fortunate to work with many fine people who have been dedicated to taking care of our patients with kindness, compassion and professionalism. Several of us have worked together for quite a few years and I appreciate and enjoy them more every year. Their commitment to their work has inspired me all these years. This first 35 years has been a whirlwind, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am excited for what the next few years might have in store for us. We are blessed and I want to thank our community for embracing my personal family and my work family all these years.
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