Q&A with Sean Quinn, PT, MPT, Owner of Sports and Physical Therapy Center in Eureka, Missouri
Sean Quinn is a physical therapist specializing in outpatient, general orthopedic and sports medicine. He has a master of physical therapy degree from St. Louis University and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Sean says his work as a PT has helped him grow professionally by learning from his patients and their experiences. He opened Sports and Physical Therapy Center ( www.ptstl.com ) almost eight years ago and says the clinic has "grown ever since."
Q: What motivated you to become a physical therapist?
A: I wanted to be in a profession where I could help people achieve optimal health and recover from injuries or ailments. I wanted to be in an active field helping people reach their full potential and enjoy whatever physical activities they wanted to engage in.
Q: If you could sum up your job in one word, what would it be and why?
A: Kinetic. We are designed to move physically, mentally, etc. Pain and dysfunction can be restrictive, limiting one's ability to move. Physical therapy addresses patients' dysfunctions and improves their movements to allow for increased function and better interaction with their environment.
Q: Can you describe Sports and Physical Therapy Center?
A: It is a private outpatient clinic that is rapidly expanding. Our focus is on general orthopedics and sports medicine. We believe that education is a vital component of any treatment program, and patients are educated on an ongoing basis throughout their treatment program. We are also offering free community education seminars where we team up with orthopedic physicians to address common injuries that we see at our office. Our goal is to educate the community to make them informed consumers so they are aware of their options as well as prevention strategies.
Q: What's it like working at Sports and Physical Therapy Center?
A: It is great working at this facility! I have an amazing staff of highly qualified professionals to ensure that our patients have the best experience possible. We do everything we can to make all aspects such as insurance, scheduling, billing, treatment, goals, and discharge follow-up care above and beyond their expectations.
Q: When did you open this facility?
A: I opened Sports and Physical Therapy Center in October 2004, and have grown ever since. I have surrounded myself with incredible people and our attention to detail has allowed us to expand and hire more staff each year since we opened.
Q: Typically, what are your day-to-day responsibilities as a physical therapist?
A: My day-to-day responsibilities involve patient care and follow-up, as well as documentation to fulfill insurance requirements. It also may require contact with physicians and case managers to keep a high level of communication to ensure the best possible outcome for the patient.
Q: What types of patients/diagnoses do you encounter most frequently?
A: Most of our patient population is adolescents to middle-aged adults. The areas we most commonly treat are shoulders, knees and spines.
Q: Can you share an inspirational story about working with a patient?
A: We are currently treating a person who is a competitive senior Olympian. He was having neurological symptoms in his legs and a spinal tumor was found. After treatment to eliminate the tumor, he was paralyzed in his right leg and had to use a wheelchair. Since coming to PT he is regaining feeling and motor function in his right leg. He is now able to walk without any assistive device. With each win that he has, his confidence and determination are increasing. He is now even walking trails and is going to participate in a triathlon through the YMCA.
Q: Are there other areas of interest for you as a physical therapist, either clinically or educationally, that you plan to pursue?
A: I want to complete my certification in Integrative Manual Therapy. I use some IMT techniques that enhance my outcomes but I want to learn more. I realize the potential it holds to make me a better PT to the benefit of those I treat.
Q: What are the greatest challenges you face as a PT?
A: The greatest challenges I face as a physical therapist are the insurance regulations, and ensuring we are receiving fair pay as independent practitioners equal to that of large groups and hospitals.
Q: What do you like most about your job? What do you dislike most?
A: I enjoy the interaction with my patients and seeing their expressions when they tap into unknown potential, which allows them to enjoy life that much more.
The only dislike I have is the amount of paperwork that is required for documentation for insurance regulations. However, I do understand that they have a business to run and want to ensure proper care is rendered for their clients.
Q: Do you feel that the role of PTs has changed over recent years?
A: Yes. It has changed because PTs are improving their abilities to educate the general population on what PT has to offer. With increased awareness, patients are able to avoid unnecessary surgery or invasive procedures. With earlier intervention, patients are able to return to pre-injury levels of function faster.
Q: What do you feel is of the greatest concern to PTs today?
A: As a private practice owner, the greatest concerns to PTs today are insurance regulations without fair pay. Increased reporting is required without allowing for increased reimbursement to account for the time required to complete all paperwork wanted. The price for PT education is rising but the reimbursement for services rendered is stagnant at best. It makes it more difficult to compete with larger groups, which is why it is important for physical therapists to be united to ensure we have the option to be in private practice if desired.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
A: The achievements of our patients.
Q: What is the most important thing you've learned over the course of your career?
A: To listen to each patient individually so a rapport is developed. They need to know we are vested in them and in their health. With this trust and our skills as physical therapists, we are able to address their musculoskeletal dysfunction to achieve the best outcome.
Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: No matter what field or specialty you want to go into, make sure it is something you will enjoy every day. Consider shadowing a few PTs to see if it is the best fit for you, too.
Q: How has working as a physical therapist allowed you to grow professionally?
A: I have grown professionally by learning from my patients and their experiences. It is possible to learn something new each day and from each person you meet. It reminds me to keep an open mind so that I am always learning and refining my skills.
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