Bad Eggs in Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Healthcare in General

It was bound to happen sooner or later!  

I tried really hard not to let it happen.  There were no outward signs it would be that bad!  I got lazy, and then it was too late…

My soon-to-be pan of delicious, gooey, brownies were destroyed before they even had a chance.  Why?  One egg.  That was all it took.

I probably need to back track just a little.  Eggs make things delicious, like ice cream, cake, cookies, breads and of course brownies.  I set out to make some brownies one afternoon. 

We all know that food can go bad.  Just go take a look in the very back of your refrigerator!  Even an occasional fresh egg can become rotten quickly without any signs until you crack it open.  All it takes is a minuscule hairline crack for bacteria to get in. For this reason, when cooking with eggs, I try to be in the habit of cracking them open into a cup first, one at a time, then putting it into my mix.  Then I can be sure it looks and smells normal.  

You may see where this is going with my brownies.  I had everything in the mixing bowl sans eggs.  Egg one; crack, pry, plop into the mix.  Perfect. Mixed it in. Egg two; crack, pry, plop into the mix. Fantastic. Mixed it in. Egg three; crack, pry, “OH (cough)” … dribble … “WHAT IN THE (gag)” … pffflllbbaslop … “NOOOO”.  I cracked and opened a rotten egg right into my brownie mix.  Its orange-yellow-gray-greeniness spread over the entire mix. Everything was ruined before my brownies even had a chance to enter the oven.  Their potential was crushed, never to become what they were meant to be. 

Brownie Mixes and Bad Eggs in Skilled Care

Yes, there are brownie mixes among us in physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, nursing, medicine and all of healthcare.  They go by many different titles: students, first-years, new-grads, new-hire therapist, DPT, COTA, PTA, PT, nurse, CNA.  We could say each of us is a proverbial brownie mix just waiting to see what our potential will be.  What ingredients will be put in our bowls?  Will rotten things be introduced into our mix?  Will our potential be crushed? 

Much like my brownie experience, I have also encountered rotten-egg experiences in my clinical and professional physical therapy career.  I would like to think that I have caught most of them in a cup before letting them fall into my career “mix”.  Even just getting exposed to it can affect a person and have many potential bad effects on their career.  We could liken a bad-egg in your career as many things.  For this article we are going to focus on primarily one type of bad-egg in skilled care. Simply put, bullies.

What did Luke Skywalker say when he saw someone bullying his sister? You better not Leia finger on her!

Bullying has been increasingly identified among kids and teens.  No child should have to face bullying.  No child should need to become a bully.  Yet it sadly happens all the time.  As a society we tend to identify with it as a problem among kids and teens.  Something we grow out of eventually.  

We grow up with images of characters like Nelson Muntz (Simpsons), Scut Farcus (Christmas Story), Draco Malfoy (Harry Potter), Johnny Lawrence (Karate Kid) and recently Billy from Stranger Things.  As terrible as they get, the protagonist prevails and the bully changes their way or is defeated.  

The truth is that some bullies never grow out of it and they go on to college and careers.  That includes careers in healthcare.  

Nearly 20 percent of U.S. workers experience bullying in the workplace and 19 percent witness it. This survey /study done by the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) defined workplace bullying as “repeated mistreatment of an employee by one or more employees; abusive conduct that is: threatening, humiliating, or intimidating, work sabotage, or verbal abuse.”   In a 2019 survey, nearly 94 percent out of responding employees reported being bullied in the workplace.

Gary Namie, PhD, WBI Research Director, lays the blame for workplace bullying squarely on employers, who he says are failing to take responsibility for prevention and correction. That’s not surprising, given another survey result: 61 percent of the bullies are bosses.

Bullying in healthcare settings is an international problem, with high levels reported in Australia, Canada, India, USA and UK.  In the UK it was studied by Lyn Quine that 37% of physiotherapists had been bullied in the previous year. Stubbs et al published that 25% of physiotherapy students had reported being bullied during their clinical training.

I was surprised by the number of studies that were available on bullying in nursing.  Bullying in nursing is reported by approximately 29%-72% of new nurses. In another study conducted in 2017, over 50% of nursing students reported being bullied in their clinical training experiences. That is just from a few studies I pulled up.  There were hundreds of results within google on the topic.  The numbers are wide ranging and very concerning on the topic of bullying within nursing and medicine.

Bullying can take many forms and often involves various negative treatments toward another. In 2013 Diana Whitesides and her team did a study of bullying on physiotherapy students during clinical internship. They identified 3 primary types of bullying observed: 

  • physical intimidation (such as threats of violent behaviour); 
  • work-related behaviour (such as removing responsibility or overworking an individual); and 
  • person-related behaviour (such as being excluded socially and causing personal offence to another individual). This study has focused on the latter two types.

Whitesides also concluded that in a work environment where bullying occurs, it acts as a strong reason for all individuals to leave the job, and it has a negative impact on the quality of life of the victim. It causes psychological and psychosomatic complaints; it decreases motivation, job satisfaction and performance [5, 21]; and it can have a negative effect on the victim’s family.

Bullying has been attributed to altered hypothalamic-pituitary-axis functioning. This dysregulation can have adverse health consequences such as depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, burnout, obesity, diabetes and hypertension (Bellingrath, Weigl, & Kudielka, 2008; Buckley & Schatzberg, 2005; Chrousos, 2000; Forbes et al., 2006; Heim & Nemeroff, 1999; Rosmond, 2003; Wirtz et al., 2007)

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy defines workplace bullying as ‘any action taken which makes another feel intimidated, excluded or unsafe’

The consequences of bullying and its health impacts on the individual clinician are compounded in that the one being bullied will most likely have decreased ability to perform at work, poor productivity, avoid being a team player and will be more prone to mistakes that can affect the patients they care for. 

So even though I grew up laughing at all the pranks and high-jinx of Hawkeye and Trapper John to Frank in the TV series M.A.S.H.  They were actually pretty horrible bullies at times and may have been a big reason why Frank was seen as less of a surgeon.  

Thug Therapists

Statistics of bullying within physical and occupational therapy are not as well established as among other healthcare professions.  This does not mean the problem does not exist.  Much the opposite.  We have no idea how big it actually is.  

For those of us physical therapists in the United States the American Physical Therapy Association’s code of ethics should seem pretty clear that bullying type of activity is not acceptable:

Principle 1  Physical therapists shall respect the inherent dignity and rights of all individuals. 

Principle 4: Physical therapists shall demonstrate integrity in their relationships with patients and clients, families, colleagues, students, research participants, other health care providers, employers, payers, and the public

4B. Physical therapists shall not exploit persons over whom they have supervisory, evaluative or other authority (eg, patients/clients, students, supervisees, research participants, or employees). 

4D. Physical therapists shall not harass anyone verbally, physically, emotionally, or sexually. 

4E. Physical therapists shall discourage misconduct by physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and other health care professionals and, when appropriate, report illegal or unethical acts, including verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual harassment, to an appropriate authority with jurisdiction over the conduct.

Principle #7: Physical therapists shall promote organizational behaviors and business practices that benefit patients and clients and society. 

I don’t have fancy stats to show there are therapists that don’t adhere to this. but I have been treated poorly as a PT and have heard many stories from colleagues (keep reading for more on this). In recent years there has been emerging research into bullying of physical therapy students.

Like this study from Thompson et al in 2017 who explored what resources are available to PT students that are harassed or bullied.  The study by Whiteside already mentioned also brings to light these issues within physiotherapy. 

I am confident this is a larger issue than most perceive it to be.  Many will brush it off as just part of new therapists needing to “earn their stripes” within the clinical and professional hierarchy. Others may see it as nothing more than simple jokes, pranks or helping a particular clinician learn the “correct” way of doing things.  Many of these same ideas and arguments are used everyday to rationalize harassment and abuse. “They didn’t tell me to stop, so they must be fine with it”.  “They need to learn their lesson!”.  “Everyone else thinks it is funny when I do it.”

It is logical that with significant numbers of bullying and harsh treatment in most workplaces and especially nursing and medical professionals that there would be at least similar incidences within therapies. Considering the lack of hard evidence I wanted to see if this logic is even the least bit correct.  I created a social media poll question and posted them to two large physical therapy groups within Facebook.  I am not a seasoned researcher.  I am not trying to be one.  I just wanted some basic idea of what others face or have faced.  The results were certainly interesting:

I asked if people had experienced being bullied in one or more situations through their school or clinical career.  They could choose as many options as applied to them:

  1. Never in PT school or career
  2. During PT school clinical internships
  3. During my first year as a new grad
  4. During my 2nd-4th year as new grad
  5. Up to and beyond my 5th year out of school
  6. Bullying does exist in PT profession  

After just 24 hours of the poll being posted in two different groups here were the tallies:

  1. Never been bullied – 656
  2. During school clinicals – 591
  3. During first year – 293
  4. Bullied 2- 4 years out – 144
  5. Beyond 5 years 57
  6. Bullies don’t exist in PT – 3

The discussion within the posts exploded as well!  Story after story of fellow clinicians that felt bullied, harassed, and treated poorly.  Throughout school by professors, during clinicals, throughout their career, by bosses, by other medical professionals, by patients.  I understand that the polls are not held up to rigor like an actual study.  Despite this, the results scare me.  They should scare you.  (I have copied some of the comments at the end of this article.  Any identifying information has been changed.  I thought they were alarming and deeply concerning evidence of a big issue that needs to be addressed.  Please go read them)

Eating Our Young

The idiom “Eating our young” is used often as a means to indicate neglect, betrayal and harsh treatment to members of a group that are of a lower status or position.

At times it is more specifically implied that this harsh treatment is used on the “young” or new people within a group.  A way to make them learn their place and understand that they are not equals and need to earn their place within the company or group.  This difference in this type of bullying or harsh treatment is that it is always done by one that is in a place of superiority over others.  So a boss, supervisor, more senior employees or from someone that perceives themselves as superior to others; maybe a physician “over” a therapist or nurse.

To quote Gary Namie, PhD, WBI Research Director again “blame for workplace bullying [is] squarely on employers, who are failing to take responsibility for prevention and correction. 61 percent of the bullies are bosses.”

UpDoc Media (a leading healthcare content and media consultant started by physical therapists) recently came out with a video taking a stance against this exact type of treatment.  Ben Fung, DPT made some excellent points.  He identified 5 primary ways that we eat our young in the rehab world and why each of those is so harmful to our profession.  I don’t want to steal his thunder, so I suggest you take a quick watch:

Thanks for letting me share Ben!

I agree with Ben and UpDoc that our young get beat down and stifled of their innovative thought. All too often supervisors and clinics suggest to them, in round about, ways that they are worthless.  That school didn’t mean much and they still need to learn to be a clinician.  Yet, often these same clinics don’t provide a company culture that helps the young to progress, blossom and eventually become great clinicians.  

Can you see why my brownie experience works so well in this article?  Our students, new grads, new employees, and even some seasoned therapists are getting exposed to “rotten egg” treatment before they even have a chance to go into the “oven” of their career.  Once that mix is tarnished, it really can’t ever be the same.

Stand Up For Yourself

We all need to understand that this topic needs a respectful amount of give and take.  Not every joke or prank is going to be bullying. Managers and bosses need to lead and guide employees.  This will require the occasional confrontation.  We all get frustrated and say things we should not say.  Through good communication, listening, apologies and kindness these minor issues are easily corrected.  Bullying within physical therapy or any workplace involves repeated, deliberate, subtle actions that accumulate over time. 

It is that repetitive part of the actions that are so harsh on our fellow health care providers. A constant issue that won’t go away.  We all have a breaking point.  The psychological distress caused by constant bullying can be one of the biggest fallouts.  

Whitesides also found that students often internalized the bullying they received.  Many started to think it was their fault.  That they could not perform at the specified level and thus would not make it as a therapist. It reduced their ability to even learn and retain information.  Creating a negative feedback loop. Here are just two statements from students in her study: 

  • ‘It did make me feel like a bad physio and that I didn’t want to do it anymore and having been away from that placement a little while, I feel a bit better, but I would say, the residual effects are that I am full of self-doubt … All up until that time I’d cruised along fine, had good marks, had great experience but this last one seems to have really knocked my confidence. I’m going to still try [and] get into physio but if it doesn’t work out I won’t be heartbroken now as I have this fear that if I go in [to my next rotation] and I have to come across that situation again, I am really scared of it to be honest as I just feel like, you know, you’re there, you’re trying to learn, you don’t really know what you’re doing and the person who is supposed to teach you is a bully, it makes your life a living hell basically’ 
  • ‘It made me feel really intimidated which I don’t think you should have to feel, at work or at placement really. I used to cry all the time…. There were days when I felt like, God, I really need to learn about ventilators for example. I’d read, and I just wouldn’t absorb anything, I was so paranoid about how I was going to put that knowledge across [to the educator]’ 

Whitesides found one other alarming problem: 

“The majority of students suggested that the best solution to dealing with bullying was to ignore it. This meant that the perpetrator would not be confronted by the student, university or hospital. Students were very clear on why they would not reveal such incidences; primarily, a number of students believed that revealing problems could have a negative impact on their mark.”

Similar to domestic abuse situations, those being bullied often get to the point they feel it is their fault and that to stand up for themselves is not an option.  It would just have further negative consequences.  This should not happen in physical therapy, nursing, or any workplace! 

So what is the solution to all this?

On the outside it seems like the solution is easy: people need to stand up for themselves.  I do agree with this.  However, it is not that simple. There is real fear in these situations and fear can make people doubt, freeze and not look at the situation logically. It becomes even harder when grades and money are involved.  What happens when the one you should report bullying to is the one being the bully?  Maybe you are in a small company or department where the supervisor wears many hats.  Your professor is highly regarded and respected? 

There are steps therapists can take when they feel they are being bullied. The attorneys over at give three primary steps to follow:

1. Document all incidents of bullying – if rotten brownie mix ever hits the fan, having documented history to show a pattern to the bullying acts against will be helpful.

2. Go to Human Resources – human resources is supposed to be there to help ensure that employees are treated well.  If you don’t have a dedicated HR, it may be a manager, supervisor, program chair.

3. When all else fails, seek legal action – Many times for cases of potential abusive treatment of an employee or student it will be free to at least speak with an attorney first.  Once they know the story they can then help you decide to take more action and explain any associated costs.  

If it is happening to you, there is a good chance that person is bullying others, you may be the hero to others by speaking up.

A major part of the solution is that we need the problem recognized.  We need our schools and associations to dedicate more research time to looking into bullying and its downstream consequences of the profession and the public. Universities need to take a no-tolerance stance to any kind of bullying by professors, clinical affiliation locations, or students. Professional associations need to do more than just publish a “code of ethics”.  There needs to be more awareness of how to file complaints to the appropriate local authorities and police.  Employers need to be responsible and not turn a blind eye.  We need “cups” to catch potential “rotten-eggs” before they go on to ruin the future of rehab health care. 

I do want to give a call out to anyone that feels like they are being bullied.  Please speak up!  If you don’t feel comfortable confronting the perpetrator, talk with family or friends.  Find a mentor through Facebook, Linked In or contact me even.  Contact a local attorney or police department.  Just don’t put up with it, please don’t.  You are too important. You have too great a value than to waste it dealing with someone that does not value what they have. 

The rest of this post is dedicated to me telling my first experiences with bullying, and then sharing the comments from my Facebook poll. There are several of them, but I hope you will read through to the end. These stories need to be shared so that others will have the courage to speak up. Lets make some absolutely fantastic brownies!

Photo by cindy fernandez on Unsplash

Speaking from Personal Experience

I never expected to be bullied at work in a profession that I thought was all about caring for others.  The primary owner of the PT company I worked at after school was a person of great respect in my area.  They had been our local PT association president. They had a strong work ethic.  A very positive attitude.  I enjoyed being around them and still consider them a friend.  So I thought working in one of his clinics would be a great opportunity.

The day to day business was run by the clinic director. There were three other more senior therapists.  The culture of the clinic was ok at first and I did not hate it everyday.  Yet there was a certain “good ole boys” clique in the company that very much revolved around sports, doing things the good old way, being macho and poking fun.  For whatever reason I don’t think I fit into their clique.  I will admit that I was not bullied as bad as other examples I will share below.  But it had a very lasting impact on my career and my eventual leaving working in a clinic. 

I recall during my first weeks working being told multiple times things like “just because you are a ‘doctor’ don’t think you know more than me” or “just so you know I’m not doing to call you doctor.”  I graduated with my DPT but I never asked anyone to call me a doctor nor did I say I was smarter than them. I was really hoping for some great mentoring.

During school I had a clinical experience where one of my CIs wore a button down shirt and tie most days to work.  I liked how it seemed to elevate the profession.  So I decided I would wear a button down shirt and tie when I graduated.  I found that patients and most co-workers appreciated it.  I got compliments on my ties all the time.  Well, the ‘good ole boys’ thought it was dumb, and they joked about it often.  There was no company uniform or policy against wearing what I did. A few times in one on one interviews, the director made sure to chide me and let me know I didn’t need to wear a tie, even after I had explained my reasons many times before.  

One year, they all “dressed up” as me for Halloween.  They photocopied my name tag but changed it to say “Doctor” Hackett and wore button up shirts and ties.  I could tell by the looks on their faces when I got to work they thought it was pretty funny.  They tried to get other employees to laugh with them.  I did not laugh. It ruined my day.  One of them eventually came up to me and apologized later that day.  No one else did. 

In my 5 years working for this company (I know, that was way too long – learn from my mistakes people), they opened two additional clinics.  Each significantly closer to where I live and where my friends and family (that would have liked to come see me as patients) lived.  I voiced desires to move clinics multiple times.  I gave many reasons why it would be better for the clinic and for me.  Instead they hired new therapists or moved others there that lived further away than myself.  Oh, but when those therapists needed to go on PTO who did they ask to cover?  Yeah, me.  Never once was I given a straight answer as to why I would not be a good fit at the other clinics. 

As time passed and I became more comfortable as a therapist. I presented various projects that I was willing to work on to bring additional business in.  One such was to start a runners specific program.  I created an actual business plan with projections, costs and presented it to the “board” which comprised the “good ole boys” and the owner.  

As you guessed, I was not given a chance.  I was never given a real good reason either.  The owner actually approached me later and thanked me for trying and that they thought it was a great idea, but it was a board decision. 

I was eventually given the task of handling all aquatic therapy that was done at a local rec center a few miles away.  I was told that if this went well it may “open doors” to do other projects I had expressed interest in. Mid way through my day I would have to rush to the pool, change, treat patients, shower, change, rush back and keep treating patients.  I was also supposed to fit a lunch in there somewhere and try to document what went on before I forgot it.  I could see why the other ‘good ole boy’ doing it before me was so happy to be done with it.  

As I continued with it, I expressed some mild health concerns I thought were part of the pool.  My comments seemed to be of little concern. Being in a pool saps you of energy faster than one might think.  Body heat is pulled away much more than in the air.  Not to mention breathing the chlorine air, and the water that is also pulled from your body.  I would come back sapped of energy and would feel light headed often.  There were multiple times I almost passed out and one time I actually did.  I was doing manual range of motion with a patient who had a total shoulder replacement.  (I was smart enough to let go of their arm in time, but not quick enough to move the foot stool before my head hit it on the way down 🙁 ).  

I don’t think it was the ‘good old boys’ idea to get me to pass out in the clinic.  That was an unfortunate consequence.  However, it seemed to me I was being given the job no one else wanted no matter if it was actually a good fit for me or not. It was one way I had to earn my stripes.  

I think in their minds, they were just having fun and trying to get me to earn my place in the clinic.  Just a ‘good ole hazing’ of sorts.  That was not my experience though, and I failed to tell them that clearly and directly.  My wife even tried to help me see my lightbulb moment when the clinic director called me at the hospital just hours after my son was born to ask “when will you be back in?” and “come’on we all know your wife does all the work at home anyway”.  

I should have seen that light bulb!  It was pretty bright.  I had small children, a wife, a house, loans and needed the job.  I was not confident in my clinical skills and the thought of leaving that clinic was scary (not to mention there was a “non-compete” contract).  Luckily, with the help of my wife and friends I came to realize what that clinic was and that I needed to leave it.  I just wish I had done it sooner.

Following that I was able to work in some clinics where I had much better co-workers. I had way more independence and was able to spread my wings a bit.  I still struggled with my confidence as a provider though, no matter how many patients I helped.  I always had a bit of a dark shadow looming like I just wasn’t as good as other therapists.  I can only imagine what others have had to overcome.  Again, this should not EVER happen in physical therapy. 

Share Your Voice

The following are some of the comments that were left in the facebook polls I mentioned earlier. I have removed or changed anything identifying.  My heart goes out to each of these people.  Remember that these are your fellow colleagues, classmates, and friends.  It is possible one of these is from someone you worked with or sat next to during PT school. These are real.  

One other way of fighting this problem is to share your experiences.  It does help you feel better to know you are not alone.  We need to bring to light how pervasive this actually is.   If you have a bullying story you want to share please post in the comments or you can come join us in my facebook group (Dark Secrets to Skilled Care) and share your story. We are a very supportive group.

Please, I ask that you share this article. We need to combat bullying within healthcare just as much as we other types of bullying. Together we can be the voice for those that are too afraid or beat down to speak for themselves. Lets fix this together:

Statements from Facebook Poll (posted in Doctors of Physical Therapy Students group August 17, 2020)

  • “Almost didn’t pass a clinical because of bullying”.
  • “Definitely experienced bullying from MDs and nurses during my hospital inpatient clinical”
  • “I had a terrible experience with a PTA during my first clinical. I was at a clinic that wasn’t my home clinic and this floating PTA was mad that I didn’t know where anything was. She tore apart my notes and told me they were terrible, when my CI had nothing but good things to say about my notes. It took everything in me to bite my tongue.”
  • “Believe it or not, I was bullied my first few years in a hospital system as management was all female and all male therapists were harassed. Not typical but it happened.”
  • I was on a clinical. The admin/office manager who was not a PT. She would say all kinds of undermining comments under her breath whenever I said something to a patient. At one point she yelled at me for not working with a patient that my CI both agreed would not be appropriate for me to work with. She pretty much was trying to undermine me whatever opportunity she could find. I found out on the last day of my clinical that she has had a lot of issues with other students, especially males for reasons that went beyond my knowledge.
  • throughout an entire 9 week clinical a senior therapist called me “the student”
  • Bullied by my CI on my first clinical. Started eating lunch in my car because anything I spoke about at lunch she would yell at me about. She was always fighting with other staff and patients too. 
  • the other PT and PTA were very clingy and treated me like dirt and were very unprofessional. I complained multiple times .. however nothing was ever done.
  • In my acute care setting I have definitely experienced manipulative bullying from case management! Even worse than the attending physicians!
  • I have seen PTAs being discredited because they’re “just PTAs.”
  •  I didn’t get bullied by rehab therapists. But i did by nursing andMDs.
  •  I also had a COTA that told me, as the DOR, that I wouldn’t be able to handle this job and I’d start drinking heavily and my husband would force me to quit….I caught him committing fraud two weeks later.
  • Personally I got bullied by a boss at my very first job.  She constantly told me she didn’t know if “this was working out”.  I left after 3 months. 
  • Our ortho prof was known for calling people out and humiliating them if they didn’t know the answer or did a technique incorrectly. Sometimes it seemed like the entire class was set up to crush student morale. Most of what he taught us is outdated nonsense anyway.
  • Had a horrible CI for my 2nd clinical. Regularly treated me like an idiot in front of patients and other staff and didn’t teach me a damn thing. Absolutely hated going.
  • the clinic I was supposed to intern with flat out said I don’t want him because of his religion, how he knew my specific religion is unknown but my best guess is the clinical director had to have given him that knowledge.
  • In school with classmates harassing other classmates, teachers making comments about how certain demographics won’t excel or grading students harder
  • I was on crutches and a fellow student/roomate blocked my room door from the inside while I was away so I couldn’t enter. They would steal my test grades so they could compare to mine (and if better would rub it in my face and laugh..). They told me on a near daily basis no one liked me, I had no friends, and there was something wrong with me. I actually got so used to hearing it I did believe this, unfortunately. I remember we were walking to class in the morning and they were telling me over and over again how mean I am and how there just has to be something wrong with me that I actually started crying and walked my butt right into the on campus counseling office. When I told her everything going on, she gave me such comfort and told me there was nothing “wrong” with me, I’m just stressed. I felt so relieved, having been gaslit for months. I made the mistake of telling this student about my counseling session and they gaslit me again and told me I’m clearly lying about what the counselor said because there’s something clearly clinically wrong with me. That’s when I knew for certain they were targeting me for bullying purposes. 
  • By a clinical instructor who wouldn’t address any possible learning points with me, but instead would bring them up in-front of my program CCCE when we did check-ins. I fought back by stating it was interesting they bring up all these things now but never said anything about them at the time I was doing it or gave suggestions for improvement. That I wished they would have addressed it with me and given me a chance to correct it.  That I was a competent person and able to correct my mistakes and learn.  It seemed they were trying to undermine me.  Lucky my instructor thought it was odd as well.  They would correct every small thing right in front of the patients, in condescending ways.  The whole thing destroyed my confidence. It was horrid. I cried every day when I left. 
  • I had a CI try to fail me because she didn’t think men should be PTs. Fortunately, I saw what she was doing and complained to my school and they backed me up.
  •  I had a CI fail me on the day before my last day. She told my ACCE that I was defensive so she stopped giving me feedback. I remember an incident when she was frustrated and I couldn’t come up with an answer she threw a walker against a wall when we were talking. I definitely didn’t deserve to pass the affil, I didn’t learn what I was supposed to, but I also wasn’t given the opportunity to attempt to pass because I wasn’t told I was failing until after my CI called my school literally a day and a half before the end
  • I was told that I was a Filipino ding dong monkey, that I was not going to succeed, and that my DPT was just a waste of my time. That I will never be more than a director of rehab and that’s it.
  • First day of my first clinical my instructor told me how terrible they thought the DPT was and that it was a waste of my money because I wouldn’t learn anything better than Masters did.
  • I got kicked out of a clinical after reducing a patients shoulder pain…the patient had already been “treated” in the clinic for 4 weeks before I entered the clinic. Patient continued to have 6/10 pain. I begged the CI for a shot at reducing the patients symptoms. 10 minutes later the patient was pain-free and cussing out the CI for wasting his time in the clinic for the previous 4 weeks or so. The CI told me that I wouldn’t be welcomed back in the clinic and I needed a new site.
  • During PT school, a couple of my fellow classmates told me they didn’t believe I had a learning disability.  They felt the only way I did better than them on the exams was because I tested in a quiet room alone & received extra time on the exams (the university set up the accommodations based on the outcome of the testing. I didn’t know I truly had an LD until I was tested as a freshman in undergrad). Later, one of the females also informed me that she thought I would end up killing my husband, or something like that…so now I’m a “murderer” too. I never spoke or associated with either of those former classmates again. Due to what was said, I had to change my study group/friends and as you know most PT classes aren’t that big.
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