This is a game changer for your practice. I promise. Once I started doing this, my communication with patients became clearer, they bought in, and their outcomes improved. One of my first clinical instructors gave me part of the advice I’ll give you… the second half I took away from a level 1 pelvic floor course.
Are you dying to find out what this technique is already?!!?
Before you give your patient an exercise, lifestyle recommendation, or assignment to complete… do it yourself.
It seems so simple, but I promise it will have a profound impact on the way you practice. I came to this realization piece by piece. At first, I did it with exercise only. My first CI would say “Anything you give to a patient you have to be able to do at least 1 rep of.” That stuck with me.
This goes for any area of rehab. You want them to complete 10 exercises, 3x10 reps each, once a day? YOU do it. Oh, you don’t want to? You forget to do it 50% of the time? Hmm… interesting.
Now, do I mean that you should be completing every single home exercise program you give out in a day? No. But at some point in time, you should have done every. single. exercise.
Because until you actually experience what they may experience, your recommendations are sorta BS. For example, I regularly give patients voiding logs to track their voiding habits. Seems easy enough to instruct them on how to complete it, they nod along, and at the next visit, I hope it’s completed. The handful of times I tried to instruct a patient in an exercise I hadn’t done myself… it was SO much more difficult. So that’s been my rule of thumb for a while.
However, I expanded that rule to include lifestyle and assignments after my first pelvic floor course. We practiced vaginal pelvic floor muscle exams on each other. And feeling what a patient would feel DEFINITELY hammered home how experience trumps any reading, videos, or articles you’ve read on a technique.
I use voiding logs to assess patient symptoms and patterns. The log itself is 4 pages to fill out and pretty simple to explain. But one day I decided to try it myself to figure out if I had a particular food sensitivity. Do you know how hard it was to complete the sheets I was giving people?!?!
Based on my experience, I was able to improve the way I collect this information going forward. And making it easier, means more patients provide me with the information we need for their plan in the first place!
This is one of those things that's so easy to do, it's also super easy to forget to do. I encourage you to draw on your early roots, back in the good old days of practicing on each other in labs. Practice everything, if it's a manual technique, have someone with experience do it on you, etc.
Think of it this way: would you take investment advice from your broke friend? Well, people can tell when you're pulling stuff out of your ass and have no idea what you're talking about.