Do you feel like you’re becoming stagnant and, maybe even, complacent in your physiotherapy practice? Like you’re doing the same thing day in and day out, without the joy you used to feel when you were a new grad? 

Don’t worry – it’s perfectly normal! This is something that happens to tons of physiotherapists, and they’re able to push themselves to grow and find their way out of these ‘ruts’. You can, too. 

 It just takes a little bit of self-awareness and work to get there. Read on to find out more about the risks of stagnation in your practice, signs you may be stagnating, when and why stagnation happens, and how to fix it! 

Stagnation in your practice

Risks of stagnation in your practice

1. If you’ve been practicing for a long time

It’s extremely common to experience some stagnation in your physiotherapy practice. But it’s okay! The important thing to remember is this: it’s totally fixable. If you take action, you can help stop the stagnation in its tracks and reinvigorate your practice. 

2. If you’re not checking in

It’s really important to check in with yourself regularly, so that you can identify when your practice is going through a period of stagnation. Acknowledge it. And, be honest with yourself, so that you can make changes. Remember that stagnation isn’t a sign of failure. It’s just a plateau. Many other physiotherapists have been able to overcome stagnation and have even emerged as more successful! 

Signs you’re stagnating

1. You’re just ‘going through the motions’

If you feel that you’re doing the same thing day in and day out, from one patient to the next, chances are you’re experiencing some stagnation in your practice. Of course, you know that you should be treating each patient as an individual, but once you are in stagnation mode, you may find that you don’t do this as much as you’d like. You’re simply going through the motions. 

2. You’re bored

Another sign you’re stagnating is feeling bored at work. If you’ve lost the spark that excited you about getting into the field of physiotherapy in the first place; that’s a red flag! You’re likely experiencing some stagnation in your practice.

When and why it happens

Stagnation happens when we become too comfortable in our practice. Although being comfortable may feel like a positive thing, it can hold us back from becoming the best practitioners we can be. If you aren’t challenging yourself or learning anything new, then you’re likely headed into a period of stagnation.

 Stagnation often happens a few years into practice, and may actually happen more than once in your career. It happens because we get into a routine with our work and become complacent. It also happens when you’re feeling burnt out and simply don’t have the energy to do anything more than maintain (rather than grow) your practice.

How to fix it

Adopting a growth mindset in your clinical practice

No matter how big, busy, and successful your physiotherapy practice becomes, there is always room for growth. Because growth doesn’t necessarily mean just seeing more patients. It could mean learning a new kind of therapy or changing the way you do things in your practice.

If you don’t adopt a growth mindset, you’re at risk of becoming bored in your practice. You want to be able to go to work feeling energized, invigorated, and excited for the day ahead, but that takes effort. 

There are several ways that you can adopt a growth mindset – the most important being by challenging yourself to try new things. Adopting a growth mindset could mean:

  • Adding a new and different modality to your practice
  • Learning how to treat a different population
  • Becoming a mentor to other physiotherapists
  • Taking a course

Check out our podcast all about adopting a growth mindset with special guest and motivational speaker Deri Latimer here.

Are you ready to move forward? 

Staying in a safe place may feel comfortable, but it doesn’t help us become the therapists we are meant to become. That means we may need to lean into the discomfort of growth once again. We’d encourage you to check out a podcast where Maxi and Andrew talk about leaning into discomfort to grow. You can check out this podcast about leaning into discomfort here

Experiencing practice stagnation is common among physiotherapists. But, remember, it’s the actions you take to fix the stagnation that can really define your career. You can sit in the “stagnation rut” or you can turn things around and reignite the passion you started out with. 

Be creative and innovative in the way you grow your practice, and you will drastically reduce your chances of becoming stagnant!