Can you hear what someone isn’t telling you?

Caitlin TrakaloArticles & News

My clinic is a hub for physiotherapy students. We have had 16 students in the past two years grace our doors.

(Yes, I am a little bit crazy, but isn’t there a saying that history favours the bold?)

I recently said ‘I need to you hear and see what the patient isn’t telling you.

Say what?!

It’s tough being a physio student. I don’t make it any easier for them, particularly with my strange requests.

Physio is weird. It can be very uncomfortable when you’re new to it. I ask strangers to take their pants off, to take their shirts off, I request to palpate their glutes upon the first time meeting them. (which means I need to touch your butt in patientspeak). No time to take you out to dinner. We have to get you better.

I remember when I was getting physio years ago and had my ‘side butt’ area touched. I had pants on, and my physio told me that ideally she would have my pants off for this. My thought was ‘HELLZ TO THE FREAKING NO’.

Like I said…it can be weird.

Going back to my request of my student to ‘hear and see what the patient isn’t telling you’.

Treating a patient is so much more than looking at a joint, or a muscle. Are you LOOKING at the person?

Can you see how their feet are dancing because they are too stubborn to tell you that what you are doing hurts and are trying to hide their facial expressions?

Did you see that flush of colour in their face for half a second? Did you see their eyes widen for an instant? Can you see they are terrified for their future and the unknown?

Did you hear how they nervously said it hurts for them to stand, because they think they sound crazy for having pain for something that seems to simple?

I always tell my students that patients do not care if you missed a small part of an initial assessment, if you stumble on your words, or if it didn’t go perfectly like how it does in a lecture. That’s called a fairy tale.

They just need to know you see them and trust you will take care of them. If that can happen, then the connection, the trust, the meaningful relationship, the healing, it will all happen.

Onwards and upwards! #future #students #wednesdaymusings #physio #ruralhealth