IN MY YOUTH of the 1960s, I recall that many people who went into the medical fields, doctors and nurses in particular, thought of it as a calling and it was publicly talked about in that way.
Over the last 4O-some years of both caring for patients and, as the organizational leader for Cioffredi & Associates, caring for staff, I’ve felt a satisfaction that goes beyond the paycheck. There’s been something more than the money. Even with this understanding as a child, this realization has been flying under my awareness level for some time. It’s only now, in my 60s, looking back on my time as a physical therapist, that I realize this profession has been a calling for me. The rich interaction with people has been an experience that goes well beyond the typical acknowledgement of ‘A job well done’. And, witnessing the grace that some of my patients have demonstrated in handling personal problems in their own lives has served as an inspiration to me.
This work results in the sharing of life stories. There is the patient who is also caring for a spouse in significant cognitive decline, but who carries herself with a warm smile and a genuine interest and capacity to support others around her. There is the patient who’s been recovering from a long rehabilitation following a badly fractured leg. She shared with me how she spotted another woman in a cast boot with a crutch, pushing a shopping cart, and distress apparent on her face. She reached out to the other woman. “I was once where you were. It may be long, but you will get there.” And there is the simple kindness that some of my patients have shown me, or our staff, that translates to something beyond simple acknowledgement. Then it hit me. While it’s not religion, it’s a ministry in its own way.
In this day of exploding technology and the noble drive towards providing evidence-based care, my intuition has driven me to create something more than a transactional service organization. The opportunity we have when we help our patients goes well beyond improving their strength or joint motion, and even their pain. It’s helping them develop more certainty that they can handle some of the problems that life has thrown at them. And I believe that can happen best when the care is delivered with kindness. That is a calling of its own.
This holiday season, I want to extend my gratitude for letting me pursue my calling in the community I call home. Thank you for sharing your stories, your kindness, and entrusting myself and my team with your friendship and care.
Dedicated to providing people with the expertise, support, and inspiration to live happier and healthier lives.