Several months after I began working as a physiotherapist in private practice, I felt that something was missing. I had a desire to become more involved. I wanted to be part of something bigger. That’s when I started to feel torn between my responsibilities as a full-time clinician working in private practice and my interests in writing, research, entrepreneurship, and teaching. I have to admit, I was hesitant. What if I wanted to be more than a clinician? What if I strayed from the traditional patient care model?
Throughout my studies, I was under the impression that the words “physiotherapist” and “clinician” were synonymous. I was under the impression that I wasn’t meant to deviate from a clinical pathway, that doing so would somehow make me “less” of a physiotherapist. Well… I was very wrong.
My Advice To You
If I could provide you with one piece of advice, it would be this: there’s no such a thing as a one-size-fits-all career pathway in physiotherapy. This is coming from a first-year physiotherapist who took a “less than traditional” path post-graduation.
Within my first two months as a full-time physiotherapist working in private practice, I decided to create InfoPhysiotherapy, an educational website dedicated to facilitating knowledge translation and promoting evidence-based practice among physiotherapists. I wanted to help bridge the gap between the latest research that was being published and how it could be applied in clinical practice. Initially, it started off as a blog. Afterward, I expanded InfoPhysiotherapy by upgrading my blog to a website and extending it across multiple social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter & Instagram).
What’s Your Calling?
This leap of faith essentially stemmed from a desire to do more and to be a part of something bigger. I had a desire to teach, to innovate, to advocate, and to collaborate with others. You just need to find out what you’re passionate about.
What’s your calling? Is it treating patients? Is it teaching? Is it research? Is it entrepreneurship? Is it travel physiotherapy? Is it working for a professional organization? Is it all of the above? Not a problem. Go and get it! There are so many potential career paths, each leading to its own set of unique opportunities. Leadership, advocacy, innovation, entrepreneurship, research and education are all part of what we do. None of these non-traditional career pathways makes you less of a physiotherapist!
Don’t Be Afraid To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Never did I think that within less than 10 months, I would have built a community of over 4500 international followers and counting on Facebook, all of whom are eager to learn about the latest research and how it can be applied in clinical practice. Never did I think I would be receiving messages from physiotherapists and physiotherapy students around the world thanking me for the content I create and share. InfoPhysiotherapy has grown exponentially since its launch in December of 2016. The InfoPhysiotherapy follower count has increased by over 2000% since June alone. The content that is shared reaches close to one hundred thousand people on social media per week, with thousands of visits to the InfoPhysiotherapy website. It has been an incredible journey so far!
Was it easy? Most definitely not. For those of you who don’t know me, I have no previous education in website development, blogging or social media marketing. I’ve spent countless hours and late nights (potentially developing an addiction to caffeine in the process) struggling to understand coding, content marketing strategies and website development, and I haven’t even come close to perfecting my craft yet. I’ve also gotten my fair share of resistance. I’ve been told, “stick to being a clinician”. I’ve been told, “what’s the point?”. I’ve been told that, “nothing would come of what I’m doing” and that, “I was in over my head”.
Would I do it all again? You bet I would. I wouldn’t even second guess it. I absolutely love what I do. This leap of faith has changed my life in ways I can’t possibly explain. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box and try something new. Most importantly, don’t be afraid of failure!
Part of building your personal brand is knowing who are what you do. Well… THIS is who I am and THIS is what I do. I am a clinician. I am an innovator. I am a social entrepreneur. I am an advocate. I am an educator. I am a physiotherapist.
Anthony Teoli MScPT
Registered Physiotherapist & Founder of InfoPhysiotherapy