Tell us a little about you. Where’d you go to school? Where’s home and what do you like to do in your free time?
I went to undergraduate school at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and then attended USC, where I earned my graduate degree. I currently live in the Ladera Heights part of Los Angeles, California, and I have an 11-year old daughter. She is very smart, loves to dance, and is VERY strong-willed. <Amanda laughs.> In my free time, I enjoy dancing and taking African dance classes, listening to live music (mainly R&B and reggae,) attending theatre events, and spending time with my family and friends.
How did you get interested in physical therapy?
Due to my love of sports, I initially pursued a career as an athletic trainer in sports medicine. Unfortunately, the time commitments didn’t work well with my schedule. However, I discovered that physical therapy did. It meshed perfectly with my interests in helping people improve their physical abilities and their quality of life. It also offered the stability and flexible schedule requirements I needed for tending to my own family.
What do you find most rewarding about your career as a physical therapist?
I love seeing people thrive and return to living their best life. One of my favorite achievements was helping a woman recover from back surgery. At the time of her surgical procedure, she had become a new grandmother. She was quite distraught over not being able to hold her brand new grandbaby. It was her goal to do so -- sooner rather than later. So, together, we worked hard, and she rapidly regained the strength and stability needed to hold and care for her precious grandchild safely. It was a rewarding and triumphant time for us both.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, what do you find most challenging?
For me, it’s not being able to help someone significantly change their quality of life for the better. Some barriers are tough to overcome, including advanced disease, lack of family support, depression, and other emotional and social factors. I try to overcome those challenges with the use of perspective. I take the time to listen and talk to all of my patients, but for those that are feeling overly depressed, I’ll point out how much progress they’ve made. I gently remind them of what they’re able to do now -- things that they weren’t able to do before. Pointing out their positive achievements, no matter how big or small, helps change their perspective from negative to positive. That better mindset encourages them to keep going. In addition, I take the time to educate and offer quick tips to my patient’s family members so that they can also help facilitate wellness. I find that every little bit of support helps.
Those are great ideas. Do you have other helpful advice for physical therapists who might be struggling in their field?
Yes, I would recommend always returning back to your “why.” Remind yourself why you pursued physical therapy as a profession in the first place. For me, I always knew I wanted to be of service to people and to help make real improvements in their lives. I enjoy inspiring and uplifting people with a high level of timely and readily-accessible care. When I remember my “why,” it motivates me to work harder, not only for my patients but for my family too.
You’ve mentioned family a few times now. How does working in the Luna network/community benefit you as both a physical therapist and as a parent?
From a therapist perspective, Luna allows me to offer a more holistic level of care for my patients. In the past, I was limited by the basic information patients told me at the clinic. But when I call on my Luna clients, I get to observe their community and home environments. With a better understanding of their therapeutic assets in those places, I’m able to create and customize more effective treatment plans. Both my patients and I benefit because that type of tailored, comprehensive care often results in better outcomes.
From a parental perspective, I absolutely love the flexibility in scheduling. Working with Luna allows me the ability to make a good living without having to compromise on the time I want to spend with my family. When I worked a 9-5 job, I had missed out on a lot of my daughter’s events and activities. With Luna, that’s no longer the case. We get to spend more quality time together, and we’re both a lot happier as a result.
Not only are you balancing parenthood and your work with Luna, but you’ve also taken on some other business endeavors too, correct?
Yes! Aside from parenting, I essentially have three other jobs. Luna, of course, is one of those, but I also have my own home health and mobile physical therapy businesses. I feel fortunate to have the time and ability to handle all of them well. But without Luna, it would be a lot harder. My work setup is undoubtedly non-traditional, but all three jobs provide me with flexible schedules and profitable streams of income. I love what I’ve built for myself and wouldn’t have it any other way.