Back in Action: How Rick Rausch Navigates Life as a Professor and PT
The social narrative of retirement is changing, and although many retirees appear to be quietly returning, this idea doesn’t accurately capture this complex evolution. More than 2 million people retired during the first 18 months of the pandemic, but retirement isn’t being treated as the contemporary concept we are familiar with. It’s a milestone for the next stage, not an exit.
Let’s hear the perspective of our final physical therapist elderpreneur in our latest interview series, Rick Rausch, who is based in Chicago and has continued his professional career beyond traditional retirement through part-time teaching and now working with Luna:
Tell us about your background and experience as a physical therapist.
This fall, it’ll be 50 years as a PT. Throughout most of my career, I have been involved in private practice, where I owned a string of clinics in the Chicago market. But predominately, my career has been in an outpatient ortho environment.
How has your career evolved over the past few years?
I have been doing part-time teaching at the University of Illinois in their physical therapy program since 2010. I teach the business class on how to establish a clinic. Around the time I sold my last clinic in 2019, I picked up another course around health policy.
At the end of my class this spring, I wondered what to do during the summer. I decided I wanted to do some clinical work, and home health seemed to give me a lot of flexibility. I love to travel and need a lot of flexibility to do so. I discovered Luna through the APTA job board. I had explored a few different options, but Luna stood out as the easiest choice to dive into. I have since become a raving fan of Luna, and I’m not just saying that.
Other than an easy start-up, what aspects of Luna particularly attracted you?
I live in downtown Chicago, so travel is an issue in the city. With Luna, I won’t spend more than a half hour getting to a patient —which is significant. I’ve worked with different home care agencies in the past, going all over Chicago. I could do that with Luna, but it would be my decision, not someone else’s.
The other thing, the app is incredibly convenient. Luna has made it so easy to take notes on my phone. I’m a visual person, and I prefer to make my notes manually on my iPad or my phone, where I can see them, but the ease of note-taking and documentation makes it so much easier for the therapist.
The exercises on the app are also impressive. All those years I owned clinics, I would have therapists ask, what do we do for home programs and exercises? We would print copies of standard ones or use HEP2go. But the exercises on the app are just excellent.
I thought I would phase out of Luna and only work during the summer, but there’s no way! It’s just too easy.
Are there any challenges in the field of physical therapy that Luna is helping to resolve?
If you can pull yourself out of that by working with Luna, you can better control your productivity. In some clinics, as with Athletico, for example, you’ll see 50-60 patients in a week. For those who work full-time with Luna or pretty close, you can manage your own productivity. You don’t have to get on that treadmill.
Luna is such a nice way to help with student debt. When I was a new grad 50 years ago, I did home visits because I didn’t make enough money at the hospital —overall, Luna is making it easier to address these issues.
Have you ever personally experienced burnout?
Sure, that’s when I went into private practice. I burned out in the hospital setting, but that was way back in the early 80s. That’s why a lot of people go into private practice —to do it their own way.
Luna really allows people to be semi-private practice with a sub-contractor situation. You manage your revenue and taxes and can control your schedule and career. So, I would think Luna is a good alternative for those experiencing burnout.
What keeps you motivated to do what you love?
Helping people —and getting results! A recent patient of mine was crying to me because she was in so much pain from the fracture site in her elbow. She was missing 40 degrees of extension —and it was her right hand. Now, after working with her, we are down to full extension! She’s actually able to use her arm for everything in the house —it doesn’t get much better than to see that healing transformation.
Want to reignite the most rewarding aspects of your PT career? With Luna's support, you can pursue this sense of purpose and find balance while enjoying the independence of a flexible schedule. Contact our Therapist Community team to get started!