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Get to Know Our Therapists: Jenn Gutierrez, MSPT

See how Luna is reimagining physical therapy with a behind-the-scenes look at our team of physical therapists.
By Lily Beltran
Get to Know Our Therapists: Jenn Gutierrez, MSPT

 

Where are you located?

I live in Fremont in the East Bay.

Tell us about your professional background.

In high school, I had dreams of going into dentistry. I was also a competitive swimmer and had an opportunity to serve as an assistant swim coach at the Special Olympics. That was a totally life-changing experience. The teens and adults that I was coaching had so much trouble with mobility. They would come in with walkers or wheelchairs, but once they got in the water, everything changed. The water was so freeing to them—they could move!

This made me realize that I didn’t want to work with teeth, I wanted to work with the body. I was lucky enough to attend the accelerated program at Boston University, earning my undergrad in Health Studies and my masters in Physical Therapy in just four years. Since then, I’ve enjoyed a long career in physical therapy, working in a variety of settings like outpatient orthopedics, aquatic PT, outpatient neuro rehab, and in a skilled nursing facility as a per diem therapist.

Can you describe your experience as a PT before finding Luna?

As a therapist with lots of years of experience, I’ve seen first-hand a lot of the frustrations that our field is facing right now. In order for a clinic to make it financially, PTs have to see at least two patients per hour and delegate care to an assistant. You have set hours and there’s zero flexibility. Those frustrations were really weighing on me, so I approached my boss at the clinic to tell him that I wanted to spend more time with my patients and didn’t want to hand them off to someone else. In response, I remember him saying, “Good luck because you’re not going to find that anywhere. It doesn’t exist.”

Around that same time, I came across Luna online. It was clear that they were really trying to address the frustrations that so many physical therapists are experiencing. When I first started working with Luna, I was working with them two days a week and at my clinic three days a week. Now, I’ve officially quit my job at the clinic to work exclusively with Luna. It’s been a phenomenal experience.

What’s the best part of being a part of Lunaverse?

I love the variety in the patient caseload and being able to be outside rather than stuck inside a clinic all day. I like that I get to spend a full hour with each patient. I also love how easy and accessible Luna makes physical therapy for patients. It really helps their chances of following through with their full course of care.

What’s the greatest reward of your work?

Working with someone who has a disability or pain and believes in their heart (or has been told by others) that they can’t accomplish something, and then being able to help them accomplish their goals. That is super motivating to me. I love helping people move differently and work towards something they didn’t think they would be able to do before. 

And the greatest challenge?

I would say the greatest challenge is justifying what we do. Selling physical therapy to insurance companies, to patients, and to doctors who may have had negative experiences in the past. I’d say that and documentation are among the challenges, I see. If I could just treat patients all day long and never have to type things up, that would be amazing. Luckily, Luna has made it way easier, and I never have to worry about billing or sending reports to doctors. I’m able to stay focused on treating and listening to my patients.

When you’re not treating patients, what do you like to do for fun?

I like to be outside. I do Ironmans, triathlons, long-distance hiking, backpacking—anything where I get to be outside and moving. I also love spending time with my family. I have three sons who are 12, 15, and 16 years old. They would probably tell you that napping is my greatest hobby. I also started a local running group to teach people how to prevent running injuries. I love combining my experience as a PT and as an athlete to help people.  

How do you balance being a parent and a physical therapist?

I only work for companies who allow a lot of flexibility in my schedule. Luna has been amazing with that. Recently, for example, I had the flexibility to be the carpool driver and dropped my kids off at school, ran to the grocery store before seeing my first patient, came home to do some chores and make dinner in between patients, and picked my kids up from school. The thirty-minute breaks between appointments is a total lifesaver for me. Some days I see two patients, other days I see five. It totally depends on me and my family’s schedule. That kind of flexibility is unheard of when you work at a clinic.

Any advice for the struggling PTs out there?

Right now, there’s a lot of negativity out there that PTs can easily get lost in—the state of healthcare and the struggles of student debt. I think it’s time for the profession to stop complaining and instead look for opportunities to make things better. If you’re not happy with what you’re doing, look around for something new. There’s so much good we can do. I’m very thankful for the people at Luna who saw how things were and said “we can make this better.”

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