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In this episode, Co-Founders of Survivorship Solutions, Jillian Schmitt and Kristin Carroll, talk about Cancer Survivorship and the need for Cancer Rehab Education.

Today, Jillian and Kristin talk about the prevalence of cancer, the importance of competency in cancer rehabilitation for all rehab clinicians, and compiling educational courses from leaders in the field.

When should cancer rehabilitation start? Jillian and Kristin tell us that learning is not enough, hear about the value of mentorship, and Jillian and Kristin’s community of clinicians, all on today’s episode of The Healthy, Wealthy & Smart Podcast.

 

Key Takeaways

  • “Cancer is not just one type of cancer. Cancer is not just what you’re seeing on the outside, there are physical changes on the inside as well.”
  • “One thing that physical therapists have to keep in mind is that 100% of physical therapists, at some point in their physical therapy career, will see someone with cancer.”
  • “If you want to stay on the bus, get competent and elevate your skillset to everything, not just cancer rehabilitation, but add that as another skill in your pocket.”
  • “If you are a clinician or a therapist, it really is your ethical responsibility to take care of every patient that comes through the door, regardless of what their past medical history is. If you are not confident and competent in taking care of oncology patients, get that way. There’s a solution for you. Educate yourself, feel comfortable, feel confident, take care of your patient the way you should.”
  • “For administrators and leadership teams, you really want to know that your team can take care of this population. If you do not have something in place that is ensuring that your clinicians and rehabilitation teams are really competent at taking care of these patients, you need to get that way, and you need to get that way pretty quick because the regulations and requirements from the very top levels are requiring that you do that.”
  • “If your oncologist is not talking to you about function and what’s happening to you during your cancer journey and how that is going to be mitigated, or how you’re going to have a rehabilitation therapist of some sort as part of your team, ask for it. It needs to have this bottom-up push as well.”
  • “Think big, be brave, and just go for it.”
  • “Keep being a sponge. Keep learning. Don’t be afraid to try new things. When you’re starting to get burned out, try something else. Keep learning and keep growing, and eventually you’re going to find something that just wows you and really makes you change not only your career, but your personal growth as well.”

 

More about Kristin

Kristin CarrollKristin has been in clinical care and leadership roles within the Boston and Hartford healthcare systems for over 30 years. For over a decade she has focused on elevating her oncology specific practice with Klose coursework in lymphedema, oncology and breast cancer rehabilitation specialty courses through Julia Osborne and the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA); Academy of Oncologic Physical Therapy, and earned completion certificates in Chemotherapy/ Biotherapy Agents and Radiation Therapy from the Oncology Nursing Society. She is planning to sit for the 2021 Oncologic Certified Specialist Examination.

Kristin has been a mentor, clinical coordinator, and educator at both the system and collegiate level. She continues to serve as an educator through her role as an instructor within Survivorship Solutions ’clinical education course: Core Competencies in Interdisciplinary Cancer Rehabilitation, contributing to guest podcasts on Breast Friends Cancer Support Radio, Mama Bear Cancer Support Radio Talk Show, and The OncoPT Podcast, contributing to Alene Nitzky’ s book “Navigating the C: A Nurse Charts the Course for Cancer Survivorship Care”, and as invited speaker at the International Breast Cancer and Wellness Summit, and the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine National Conference 2020.

She actively supports and is involved in the oncology community as a member of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine Integrative Cancer Rehabilitation Task Force, Connecticut Lymphedema Consortium, local and national chapters of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA); APTA Academy of Oncologic Physical Therapy, Hospice and Palliative Care Special Interest Group, and serves on the board of the APTA Connecticut Oncology Special Interest Group as Program Coordinator.

Kristin received her Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy from Northeastern University.

More About Jillian:

Jillian SchmittJillian is a licensed physical therapist with over 20 years of experience in patient care, clinic development, management, and consulting within the fields of oncology, orthopedics, pediatrics, ergonomics, and corporate health. She studied biochemistry and business management at the University of Texas at Austin, and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Healthcare Sciences and a Master’s degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Texas Medical Branch in 2001.

Much of Jillian’s early career focused on orthopedic and pediatric physical therapy intervention, specializing in complex, limb-salvage rehabilitation programs, spinal dysfunction, and sports medicine. Later, she turned her attention to program development, clinic start-ups, and management within the corporate healthcare industry. For the past six years, she has consulted in the implementation and optimization of survivorship services and cancer rehabilitation programs within national healthcare organizations.

Jillian maintains professional licensure in physical therapy and participates in continuing education programs and certifications within oncology and other specialties. She serves as a contributing and presenting team member for the American Congress of Rehabilitative Medicine (ACRM)’s Integrative Cancer Rehab Taskforce and is a member of both the Education Section and Oncology Section of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). She also participates as a member of the Hospice and Palliative Care Special Interest Group (SIG).

Jillian regularly contributes to podcasts, journals, and other professional publications related to oncology, healthcare, and business, and she participates and contributes regularly within the entrepreneur and small-business community of the Chicago-land area, including SCORE mentorship and women-led business groups.

In 2016, Kristin and Jillian founded Survivorship Solutions, LLC., an education and consultancy firm dedicated to supporting clinicians and healthcare organizations in implementing high-quality cancer rehabilitation and survivorship services.

The company collaborates with national and global experts in oncology, survivorship, and rehabilitation to grow team safety and competencies in oncology knowledge and evidence-based care.

 

Suggested Keywords

Physiotherapy, Learning, Cancer, Research, PT, Health, Therapy, Oncology, Survivorship, Healthcare, Education, Training,

 

Resources

https://vimeo.com/485402119

Educational Course:   https://survivorshipsolutions.com/p/core-competencies-in-interdisciplinary-cancer-rehabilitation-2-0

Podcast listeners! Enter the Enrollment Code HEALTHY and automatically receive a $200 discount to make the price $397 instead of the normal price of $597.

To learn more, follow Jillian and Kristin at:

Website: https://survivorshipsolutions.com

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/survivorshipsolutions

Facebook: Survivorship Solutions

Instagram: @survivorshipsolutions

Twitter: @survivorshipsol

@KCarrollPT

@JSchmittPT

LinkedIn: Kristin Carroll

Jillian Schmitt

Survivorship Solutions LLC

NetHealth Webinar: 

Rehab Therapy Outpatient Services 101: How to Expand into the Home or Assisted Living Facility.

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Read the Full Transcript:

Speaker 1 (00:00):

Hey, Kristin and Jillian, welcome to the podcast. I’m so happy to have you guys on

Speaker 2 (00:07):

Or happy to be here.

Speaker 3 (00:09):

Thank you so much for having us on today.

Speaker 1 (00:11):

So today we’re going to talk about cancer, survivorship. This is something that I’ve spoken to, one of your colleagues, Dr. Nicole Stout with, but before we get talking about that, what I would love to know is how the two of you came together to create survivorship solutions, the how, and the why behind it.

Speaker 2 (00:31):

So, Kristen and I knew each other before we started the company together for a couple of years, we, we previously worked for another organization and had similar roles and that was to implement cancer rehabilitation, service lines within healthcare systems. And Kristen and I really connected during that time. And we really enjoyed working with each other. We valued a lot of the same things. And so once we left that situation or once that situation of our, our, you know, once that’s working together no longer happened for that particular company, we decided that we were great together and that we would we needed to continue the work. And so we started survivorship solutions together

Speaker 3 (01:21):

And Julia and I are both physical therapists and I have a special, I’ve been working with oncology patients for over 12 years. And even though we’re both PTs, we both kind of had different soap boxes and what we were so passionate about. And Jillian has a love and just a savvy for business and growth. And you know, I just love to educate and things like that. So together, you know, just our, our strengths and our passions just forged us forward to create this, this company to, to continue to help healthcare organizations, but also individual commissions that, that really just needed to get more information on how to take care of people with cancer.

Speaker 1 (01:59):

Yeah. And that was my next question is where, where was the gap that, what was the gap that you guys saw that you were like, Hey, if we can put our heads together and create this, we’re really going to help fill that gap?

Speaker 2 (02:11):

Right. Well, you know, for me personally, it was I was not a cancer rehabilitation therapist for most of my, my clinical career. I was in orthopedics and I th the opportunity to begin working in cancer rehabilitation actually came about it was pretty unexpected. I received a phone call from a very good friend of mine and also therapists I would school with. And I’ve been in practice for 15 years and she said, you know, I think that this would be a really good opportunity for you, you know, you, you’ve married sort of this business. And I, because I had opened clinics and I had done a lot of the, the business part of it. And but I really loved clinical practice. And I also had a very personal situation occurring in my life, or one of my loved ones was experiencing the cancer journey and really having a lot of issues and a lot of problems that I was really familiar with. But I, you know, like weakness and numbness and things like the things that physical symptoms, but I was just kind of watching through this lens and like, all right, well, that’s like what I do every day, but why isn’t somebody helping him? So it was all these three things that kind of came together and took me out of my orthopedic world pretty quickly and thrust me into the cancer rehabilitation world, which I had thought, I mean, admittedly been very naive of until that happened.

Speaker 3 (03:43):

Yeah. And I was working in an outpatient center and had surgeons come to ask if I would become competent to learn how to take care of breast cancer patients. Cause they were breast cancer surgeons. So I went to Olympia DEMA course and I learned all about lymphedema. And then I came back and I saw a breast cancer patient and I was all excited to use my new education that I just learned and she didn’t have lymphedema, but I was like, Oh my God, what do I do with her? I mean, I learned all about lymphedema isn’t that cancer rehab isn’t. And so Julie and I learned quickly that in order to really become competent, to take care of people with cancer, you have to travel around the country at your conferences and online and, and do all sorts of things to get there. But a lot of it was just disease specific, like just breast cancer. So how do you learn how to take care of everybody that has all different kinds of cancers and all the different problems? So we felt that it really was our ethical responsibility as we were working with healthcare organizations to make sure that if we were going to implement a program, we had to make sure the team really was confident and competent to do that. So how we created education to go along with that implementation.

Speaker 1 (04:54):

Yeah. Excellent. And, and I will say that people who, like, I know people who’ve been diagnosed with cancer and as of yet only like two of them have gone to physical therapy. One of which was because I said, you have to go to physical therapy, she had a double mastectomy. And I said, tell your doctor that you want to go to PT afterwards. And she was like, but the doctor gave me this list of exercises. And I said, no, no, no, no, no. Tell your doctor, you want to go to see a physical therapist after this and, and sh afterwards she was like, yeah, I I definitely needed a PT. And so I think the issue here, and we’ll get into that, we’ll get into this conversation in a little bit, but you know, the issue here is that cancer is not just one type of cancer. Cancer is not just a, what you’re seeing on the outside, but there are physical changes on the inside as well. And that’s where being a knowledgeable physical therapist on, on the rehab of people diagnosed with cancer is so important, but let’s talk about cancer in particular. So cancer itself can affect anyone true or false. That’s absolutely right. Yeah, definitely. And so let’s talk a little bit about the, this sort of prevalence of cancer and what that means for us right now,

Speaker 3 (06:31):

Almost 17 million cancer survivors in the country. And so that is all different ages, you know, doesn’t matter which sex, all different kinds of cancers, definitely cancer is not discriminant. And so you talk about the gap in care. And Andrew Chevelle is, is kind of huge in our cancer rehab world and does research. And you know, she talks about the 83% of general cancer survivors have problems that really require rehabilitation and take it to the other end where women sorry, excuse me, general cancer metastatic or stage four, they have up to 92% of problems. So obviously somebody that has a chronic cancer condition is going to have more and more problems because they are receiving more and more treatments. And so the percentage of people that actually get rehabilitation is only about 30% according to, to her study. So that’s, you know, that’s a huge gap in care wizards.

Speaker 3 (07:25):

It’s 83% of general cancer survivors or the 92% of our metastatic breast cancer patients. That’s a huge gap with 30%. So when we’re looking at that, if you’re young and you’re diagnosed with cancer and you have treatment, you’re going to grow up to have perhaps problems, you know, as you get older. And so, you know, these people are inside our clinics already. And sometimes it’s a little tiny past medical history. That’s checked, you know, on their, on their form and we see cancer, but yet we’re a little bit afraid sometimes to ask a little bit about what that is. And, and even I do that when I’m in a private room with my cancer patients that I’m treating them, I have no problem talking about what they went through, but on an open clinic. And I see that little word cancer, sometimes I, I will say, Oh, well, you had cancer. What kind did you have? And you know, but we really have to have these conversations. What kind of cancer did you have? What kind of treatment did you have because it really can impact the treatment that you are providing your patient, whether they’re a pediatric patient, you know, an inpatient and outpatient adult really doesn’t matter what the setting is. It really could depend on what your care plan is going to be.

Speaker 1 (08:41):

And Karen, you, you had mentioned that you said you asked, can anybody get cancer and can this affect everybody? And absolutely. And I think what’s, what’s really interesting is that healthcare professionals, you, myself

Speaker 2 (08:56):

Included, we don’t necessarily automatically think about like the, the functional consequences of having cancer, even though we see it. We’re so we have this new normal instilled in us that we sort of expect cancer patients to not have normal function or not be doing well. And it just really to be part of what the expectation is once you get that diagnosis. And even me, even somebody that has worked in therapy for a long time and having a person very close to me, experiencing physical symptoms, I still, it was almost like a, it was just sort of like an out of, Oh, you know, like I didn’t really make sense to me why he wasn’t getting it, but it wasn’t sort of this, well, this is a person that needs to have therapy. That connection wasn’t, wasn’t quite there yet. And I think that that’s true for a lot of clinicians.

Speaker 2 (09:49):

They say, well, we, we don’t see cancer patients, but but w w what Christina likes to say, well, yes, you actually, you have, and you do you see them probably every day on your schedule, there’s such a high percentage of people that cancer at this point, that if you’re seeing any population in ortho population or a neuro population or whatever in your clinic, you have seen patients that have either current or a previous diagnosis of cancer. And so you are, these patients are coming into our clinics already, and people are just not really making that connection.

Speaker 1 (10:23):

Yeah. I remember when I spoke to Nicole, she said, one thing that all physical therapists have to keep in mind is a hundred percent of physical therapists in, at some point in their physical therapy career will see someone with

Speaker 2 (10:36):

Absolutely, absolutely. Probably this week. Yeah. And like, you know, it’s, it’s not, it’s not when, or, or it’s, I mean, like it’s very, very soon because patients also don’t necessarily think about the fact that they have a cancer diagnosis and it’s something that they really need to kind of put, put front and center when they are going to rehab. So maybe they’ve had a knee replacement or they’ve had some other traditional rehabilitation problem, like a BA like back pain or whatever they go to PT for. And they had that pesky, you know, cancer diagnosis 10 years ago that colorectal cancer, but they, they got it and they got the third, but so they don’t really, but you know what, those things that happened 10 years ago with that diagnosis and the medications that that patient had and the treatments that that patient had are actually going to impact the way that they heal in, in physical therapy. And so I think the patient doesn’t understand the significance of it. And then the clinician doesn’t really understand the significance of it. And it makes a huge impact in how well that patient is gonna, you know, do and how, and in the course of their therapy, it really should kind of direct the course of their therapy and and predict how well they’re going to be able to, you know, certain, certain things that should be in therapy and certain things that should really not be done in therapy should be based on that.

Speaker 1 (11:57):

And something that as you’re saying, all of this, that kind of struck me is that in physical therapy, you know, we are expected to have the competency to treat people with a total knee replacement, low back pain post-stroke Ms. But you guys have traveled around the country. You’ve spoken to many physical therapists, is that clinical competency in cancer rehab there amongst the physical therapy profession. And this is a silly question, but is it essential?

Speaker 3 (12:35):

I do. I think it was definitely not there. I mean, there are therapists that are very skilled at providing lymphedema treatments, and there are therapists that are very skilled in targeting certain kinds of breast cancer. But I think one of the things that we think, what I think about is that the things that people going through cancer treatment, it’s kind of like an anticipated decline, right? Like we kind of know that they’re going to feel like crap when they’re going through chemotherapy. And I think that maybe, and I had this assumption that once their chemotherapy is over, they’re going to be fine. And I think a lot of the providers think that as well, we kind of know that they’re not going to do well during treatment, but I don’t think that a lot of people know is that they don’t do well even after treatment and that six months and years later, they have these effects.

Speaker 3 (13:24):

And because there are one in eight women that get breast cancer, and there are so many men that get prostate and other lung cancers are, are breast cancer women, and are prostate men have to take medications sometimes for five and 10 years, that affects their musculoskeletal system that affects every ortho therapist. If they’re treating these people that are in their clinics. So there may be a general awareness, but I think there is kind of pick and choose, like you make it a lung cancer patients that you’re treating for weakness. You don’t have to treat weakness, you don’t to treat balance issues, but you may not really understand what the chemo regimen did to the patient, why they’re having those. So I think explain the why around it helps to decrease the fear that some therapists have of treating, because I sure was afraid when I saw my frail bald patients walking in, I was really afraid I was going to hurt them. And I didn’t feel safe to take care of them because I had one month of DEMA course, and I wasn’t. So we kind of wing it, right. Because there’s not really many resources out there. Right, right.

Speaker 2 (14:36):

Back into my schoolwork and looked and to see what oncology criteria like curriculum that we had gone through when I was a student. And yeah, I mean, it was so minimal. It was less than a week was one core, like within one class that wasn’t oncology focused. It was, I mean, the amount of information that clinicians were getting in school and professional programs was very, very minimal. And of course that’s more than 20 years ago when I was in school. But even now even now I would say that there was a huge percentage of of clinicians that take our course who are new grads. They just got out of school. So we know, and we’ve communicated with them. Talk to them. This is not in their curriculum. They are not learning this in school. Otherwise they would not be seeking out some of this information that they know is really important anyway. And that’s physical therapists, occupational therapists, anybody that’s in allied health or are seeing patients really needs that they need to have this foundational, basic knowledge that makes them safe and makes them competent to care for these patients. And so it is a little, I I’m sure the education, maybe at some point we’ll catch up, but it hasn’t yet.

Speaker 1 (15:56):

Yeah. And, and I’m sure it also depends on what’s on the MPTE, but that’s a whole other thing and let’s, we won’t get into that, but we know that certainly exists when it comes to educational curriculum in schools. Yes. At any rate I digress. Let’s talk about, let’s talk about when should rehab physical therapy, occupational therapy start. So someone is diagnosed with cancer. When do they start their rehab?

Speaker 3 (16:27):

The rehabilitation starts at diagnosis and that’s when the American cancer society. And so many of our, our industry regulators recommend that it started and it start from diagnosis all the way from end of life or end of care. And, you know, we compare this to kind of our other service lines, but, you know, somebody is having a knee replacement they’re coming in for prehab, right. They’re coming in for education, they’re coming in for strengthening before they do that. And it’s, it’s no different for a patient with cancer. They need to be armed with what they are going to go through. Not only the education to help decrease their fear, but also the problems that they are going to incur, understanding that we have the skillset and the tools to be able to support them throughout that journey. And I think the other thing that rehab teams don’t realize is that general clinicians that don’t have specialties really can treat the scope of most of the impairments that people have. Just like we all can you know, balance and numbness and tingling and strength issues and fatigue, and just, you know, the list goes on and on, but if you have a pelvic health issue or if you have lymphedema, then we triaged to our, to our specialists

Speaker 2 (17:35):

And, and best practice really dictates that when you’re going to begin any type of a treatment or any type of incur, any type of or undergo any type of surgery or anything like that, it’s really to establish a baseline. And in cancer, there’s really, it’s, it’s very important to establish a baseline because we know pretty, pretty well that cancer treatments are going to cause problems. They’re going to exacerbate existing problems. And so if we can add diagnosis, capture what that baseline is for that patient and monitor and survey that patient and make sure that that patient is not there, that their existing, their preconditions or existing deficits or impairments are not getting worse or that new ones are not popping up. That really is best practice because we know that if we can see something pop up, you know, and catch it immediately, it’s going to be a lot easier to take care of and to recover from or to prevent even then, if it’s something that we don’t, you know, that we don’t look for until after treatment is over, maybe, you know, the patient is having a lot of functional problems that are really obvious.

Speaker 2 (18:50):

If you just wait until then it’s going to be a lot harder to intervene and it’s going to, I mean, and this is it’s gonna be a lot more expensive. I mean, something that may take just an education and maybe one visit and rehabilitation from the very onset and the very beginning even something, you know, just as you’re going to have this, you’re going to have a lumpectomy you’re going to guard you. You know, let’s make sure that when this happens, you’re going to continue to do range of motion within a certain, you know, limitation, but that the patient knows that that can later prevent like three months of a frozen shoulder. Right? I mean, like we know that this, these things happen all the time and it’s easy to just kind of get in there from the beginning. So best practice is, is at the very beginning at diagnosis, patients should definitely be at least screened for impairments and informed that rehabilitation is part of their medical care. They should expect it, their patient should walk in knowing that rehabilitation is part of their medical team. Yeah, absolutely.

Speaker 3 (19:52):

And this is, and this is something that Nicole Stout talks a lot about in her research has called the process perspective surveillance model. And that is, you know, screening patients before each intervention. So we know kind of what we call each medical touch point. So whether they’re having surgery or chemotherapy or radiation really being screened before each of those interventions. So like Jillian said, we can kind of pick up on those impairments when they’re acute in nature, that’s really important.

Speaker 1 (20:19):

And so let’s talk about cancer rehabilitation education. I think we’ve already established that physical therapists do not get an adequate amount of cancer rehabilitation education in school, and you may not get it on the job either, depending on where you work. So couple that with millions and millions of people getting diagnosed with cancer every year rehab should start at the point of diagnosis. So let’s talk about the education around it, because if that is the case, and now it is recommended rehab start at the time of diagnosis. And there are tons of PTs in this country and not many know how to deal with this. How do we educate physical therapists in a robust manner so they can help with these patients?

Speaker 2 (21:15):

Well, I think that things are kind of catching up here. It’s been established that cancer rehabilitation is important and it needs to be part of cancer patients cancer care. And we have national regulatory agencies and different sort of top level drivers that are encouraging and really requiring organizations to provide cancer rehabilitation. So we have a lot of these companies that are starting to recognize, all right, are people that are in house already need to be doing this. And then from the clinician’s perspective. And, and I can say this as a, as a physical therapist, if, if my boss had come to me in my outpatient clinic and said, okay, we’re going to have a bunch of oncology patients come in the doors now. Because there’s these guidelines and we’re going to see this influx of patients and you guys are gonna be treating these patients.

Speaker 2 (22:15):

I would have been like, okay, like I would have been really nervous about it. And so we, we still sort of were getting that response as organizations are starting to implement some of these policies that are requiring that their organizations provide these services. So we’re also getting this sort of searching from these clinicians, like, all right, I’m going to see cancer patients. And when I go online, I see like a billion, different CU courses for different types of, I mean, I can be different specialists in this or a specialist in that, or I can take this or I can take that. What I really want to know is how can I be safe to see these patients coming through the door. I don’t, but maybe cancer is not there. And you know, what, what they’re interested in, they don’t want to specialize in it.

Speaker 2 (23:03):

That’s fine. And so they don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on specialties and weekends, but they do want to be safe and they want to know. And so Chris and I kind of came at it from that perspective, like, all right, we’re gonna, we’re gonna say, we’re going to get more referrals in your clinics because of these guidelines, because it’s the right thing to do because research says that cancer patients need it. But what’s really important to us is that your clinicians feel competent. They feel safe. How can we create the education that your, your clinicians are gonna feel like they can have anybody land on their schedule and that’s going to be fine because that’s going to make them feel comfortable. And what that’s going to do is going to make their bosses feel comfortable there. The leadership is going to know that their entire Rhea team has a competency and anybody can kind of come through there and that their service is going to be very similar from facility and location location.

Speaker 2 (23:48):

So we, that’s kind of where we started with. We weren’t, we didn’t, we didn’t want to make a course that was going to make somebody a specialist. Those are out there and they’re awesome. And we work with all those people that make those courses. So we know they’re awesome. We wanted to create something that was respectful of somebody’s time and their money, and, and really want to just pull the most excellent parts of all those specialties into one spot so that a therapist could go through it and be pretty confident in their leadership can be pretty confident that they were that they were gonna be able to take care of these patients as they come through the doors.

Speaker 3 (24:23):

Yeah, Kristen, and then I, I was live and then I was living in the cancer rehabilitation world. So I knew a lot of the experts and the leaders in the field from just attending their courses and conferences like Nicole, Nicole Stout, and Julia Osborne. And, you know, just all of these amazing people that really aligned with the same mission and vision that Jillian and I both had to spread this education. And, but what was missing was a comprehensive online platform. And, you know, I I’m sitting for the specialty exam in February, but I’m an expert in certain things, but I certainly not the expert on everything. And so Joanie and I said, you know, when we’re learning, we want to learn from our role models, right? Our peers and our colleagues who respect in the field. So we went out and we asked them, you know, will you help us create this education?

Speaker 3 (25:18):

And they all said, absolutely it’s really important. And why it’s important is because we have to get it in the hands of people quickly. I, it took me 12 years to kind of get all this information. We don’t have that kind of time because we have almost 17 million people that need this care right now. And these patients are in the clinics and, and they need it. You know, they’re, they’re just people that want to do marathons and, you know, raise their children and go to school and do all the things that everybody else does. So how do we get it into the hands of people? So we went out and they created this, this education, and then we went and got it approved recently for continuing education credits. So it really is an amazing compilation of education that spreads a blanket over all different kinds of cancer, disease types and all the impairments. But it isn’t just for somebody that wants to be competent and confident. Cause I went through it myself and I learned a lot of information and I’ve been doing this for over 12 years. So it really is also for clinicians that are interested in cancer rehabilitation that work in cancer rehabilitation, but are also experts because they will learn about a lot of things that there are no courses for like pharmacology. There are no courses for pharmacology, right. They’re out there right now for to learn from

Speaker 2 (26:39):

It’s really for the whole team. Yeah. And so when, so let’s

Speaker 1 (26:44):

As a physical therapist I go through, through this chorus, I’m confident, I’m competent. And is it like, okay, thanks. I guess I’m, I’m, I’m good now. I don’t need anything else. So what happens after this sort of ed, you have this experience with you guys and you’re, you know, relatively confident and competent is, is that where the learning ends?

Speaker 2 (27:12):

No, I, I, I really love that you asked that question actually, because this is what I, this is my soap box. You know, we all, all of our presenters for our course, they all have their soap boxes. They’re all specialists about what they think is the most important. That’s why our education is awesome. We, you know, we went to the specialist, we said, give us 30 minutes, you know, or, or whatever that you think is the most important part of your specialty that you think all general people should know, and then they bring it in and that’s, what’s in the core. So you kind of get the best of everything and what the specialist actually think the general therapists really need to know about certain things. But we did recognize absolutely that once you have, this is acumen or you, this information about, you know, cancer rehabilitation and you have got to be able to communicate with others that have the same information that, that are there in the same world.

Speaker 2 (28:02):

Because even though there are going to be a lot of patients that are starting to come in in the future right now, it’s a little bit of a small world. It’s kind of a, a small world in regards to who is in cancer rehabilitation. And we know this because we go to the conferences and we see the people that come to the different lectures and the presenters. And we know that this is kind of a small world because we see that a lot of the same people over and over again. And, and so the education is really important, obviously for Kristin and I, we have it updated constantly by the presenters. Each one of them is responsible for their segment so that we know if legislation changes, if there’s evidence that comes out, something happens where their presentation or their part of our education needs to be updated.

Speaker 2 (28:42):

That’s going to happen in pretty, pretty much in real time. But how do we answer our students’ questions later? How do we grow their interest or their confidence beyond just an online course and the way that Chris and I have been doing that, as you know, we’ve worked with clients and we’ve sort of built this community within our own clients, that they reach out to each other all the time and communicate in that way. They know they’ve got other people that are doing the same thing, implementing the same types of interventions or screenings or things like education. And so they can connect with each other. And that’s great for those clients. But we’ve really recognized that there is there is a need for a community where people could really discuss their patients, discuss their experiences, discuss their education and grow from there.

Speaker 2 (29:32):

And so that’s actually something that we’re working on right now really hard. And we, we already, you know, it’s rolled out for our clients right now. So it’s just a matter of being able to make it more of a public forum where people can, they they’ve got this, they’ve had the education. So they kind of were speaking the same language, at least at a bare minimum. And then they can discuss and communicate. And what’s nice about it is that we’ve got all of our partners who have created our course, like Nicole Stout and Mary Lou Valentino. And some of these others who are very reputable, well-known that created part of our course for us. And they’re all in there like, heck yeah, we’re going to be part of this conversation. We want to be part of this community. And so our vision of course, is that we can have discussion groups and different opportunities where people can get their questions answered about either about the education or applying that application, that education to real life scenarios. How can they get that feedback and that comradery that they’re going to need to feel even more confident in this industry. That’s why we have, that’s why we have great relationships is that they all want to do this. They all know this community is important and it’s not a big ask. It’s not like, Hey, can you talk to a bunch of therapists that really think this is important? They’re I mean, they’re, they’re all in it. They’re all in. So

Speaker 3 (30:51):

Being an Island is, is kind of scary. And like you said, you take that education and then you go back into your clinic or your place. And for people that are working in rural communities, they may be the only person that is taking this education. And we’re all really busy people in our work lives and our home lives. And I think one of the hardest things for me as a clinician and a business owner is what do I need to know right now? You know, there’s so much research that comes out. And so that’s how we also wanted to support with, with workshops. And you know, what is the need to know research that you need to know that’s coming out today? You know, you can’t afford to fly all over the country and go to all these conferences. Well, guess what, we’ve tidbit from all the conferences that now that’s out there, that’s pertinent to you so that you understand what’s going on out there in the world without having to do that.

Speaker 3 (31:43):

And so it’s you know, it has meant so much to Gillian and I to work with all of the partners that we have. All of the organizations that we work with are so passionate. We’ve met clinicians that are passionate. I’ve never met anyone that has not been exposed to cancer in some way, whether it’s personally a friend, family, somebody, so everyone is connected by it. Nobody doesn’t want to take care of somebody that’s going through this. So it’s really, how do we all kind of work together to support each other? That if you have questions kind of there in a non-threatening way. Certainly, you know, when Julia and I first met Nicole Stout, we were, you know, at, at, in section meeting and she was standing over there and, and, you know, Julie was like, I’m going to go over there and meet her. I’m like, no, no, it’s Nicole Stone. You know? And I was so intimidated by her and because she was a big wig. Well, yeah, but when you meet her, you go, you meet her and you learn that she has the same passion and mission and commitment to people that you do. And, and she’s so accepting and welcoming that, that really went away. And I felt like we had to really offer that to everybody else so that they could acknowledge that these people are, are very willing and receptive to helping.

Speaker 1 (32:58):

Yeah. Yeah. She’s fabulous. Plus, I mean the shoe collection, I mean, I mean, can we just be envious of her shoe collection? And so, but yeah, she’s, she’s fabulous and what she does for the, for the physical therapy world oncology in particular. But I think the PT world as a whole is, is huge. As a student, she might, people might be intimidated by, by that. I mean, we were, but I think that that’s what we’re trying to do is as we’re breaking down those, those barriers for our students, and we’re saying, Hey, look, you know what your course is awesome as taught by an awesome person. And here’s an awesome person that you can ask that question too. Yeah. Yeah. What a wonderful opportunity to give to your students to, to have to have those collaborations and those relationships, which in, in my, in my eyes, relationships are everything they’re key. And, and that’s the thing for me that keeps pushing this profession forward. As we wrap things up, I’m going to ask each of you. So what would be your big takeaway that you want the listeners to come away with from the talk today?

Speaker 3 (34:09):

I think one of the biggest things that I learned was actually back at CSM. And somebody said that as physical therapists, we are medical coordinators of care and is our ethical responsibility to really be able to take care of everybody that comes into our care. And he said, you know, what, if you’re not competent to treat everybody get off the bus because you’re bringing our profession down. You know, we have autonomy. Now we can have people coming into our clinics without physician referrals. So we have to know this many, many PTs can order x-rays and things like that. So my take home message is if you want to stay on the bus, get competent and elevate your skillset to everything, not just cancer rehabilitation, but add that as yet another skill in your pocket so that when that patient comes in, you can either treat them or you can triage them. A stroke patient comes into my clinic. I can evaluate them and educate them, but I might triage them somewhere else so that they get more targeted care. So that’s, you know, I just want everybody to get on the bus. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (35:20):

Awesome. Jillian. Well I think my takeaway that I would provide it really depends on the audience on who is listening. So if you are a clinician or a therapist like Kristen, it really is

Speaker 2 (35:38):

Your ethical responsibility to take care of every therapy. Every patient that comes through the door, regardless of what their past medical history is you should be able to provide the highest level of care for that patient and as therapists. And we all know you have the heart of a therapist, you want to do the best for your patients. So if you are not confident and competent in taking care of oncology patients, my takeaway to you is get that way. There’s a solution for you, educate yourself, feel comfortable, feel confident. You take care of your patients, where you said there’s a solution for you. I’m an action girl, but my takeaway for administrators and for leadership teams of your organizations is you really want to know that your team can take care of this population. And when you do something, when you do something and you want to be sure that your team is competent, you put forth these standards and people have to meet these standards.

Speaker 2 (36:31):

And so my, my takeaway for then is that if you do not have something in place that is ensuring that your, your clinicians, that your rehabilitation teams are really competent in taking care of these patients you need to get that way and you need to get that way pretty quick because the regulations and the the requirements that are coming down from the very top levels nationally are requiring that you do that. So it’s not just an ethical thing on the clinician side. It really, and, and also this is a new patient population or not, not a new patient population, but this is a patient population that is going to expand. We’re going to see a lot more on ecology patients. And so that is an opportunity to reach out to sort of almost a new I don’t want to call it a market cause I don’t like to call people a market, but it is, it’s a new, it’s a new market for, for those administrators and most leaders.

Speaker 2 (37:28):

And then the takeaway, of course, if we have patients listening or, or relative caregivers coast survivors is what we call people that are in the lives of, of a person with a diagnosis of cancer. Ask for it. My takeaway is that this is part of your medical care. You should be, if you’re not, if you’re, if you’re on ecologists, your provider is not talking to you about function and what’s happening to you during your cancer journey and how that is going to be mitigated or how you’re going to have a rehabilitation therapist of support as part of your team. If somebody has not said that to you yet ask for it because it needs to have this bottom up push as well. And it seems so logical when you talk about it. But again, you know, you gotta look, you gotta understand your audience and who are you talking to? What language are you speaking? Yeah.

Speaker 1 (38:16):

Excellent. All right. So before we get to where everyone can find you, I have last question, it’s the question I ask everyone. And that is knowing where you are now in your life and in your career. What advice would you give to yourself as a new grad?

Speaker 2 (38:33):

I would tell my younger self or anybody that is kind of starting out in their career and they know they’re doing what they love to think big, think big and be brave and just go, just go for it.

Speaker 1 (38:48):

Excellent. Kristen,

Speaker 3 (38:50):

I think that I would tell my younger self to just keep being a sponge, keep learning. Don’t be afraid to try new things, you know, when you’re starting to get burned out, try something else, which is what I did. I kind of kept jumping around and I found I was passionate about each of those things and just keep learning and keep growing. And eventually you’re going to find something that really wows you and really makes you change not only your career, but your, you know, your personal growth as, as well.

Speaker 1 (39:23):

Excellent. Very good advice all around. So now where can people find you? Where can they find the course? What’s the name of the course? Give me all the details.

Speaker 2 (39:31):

Great. but you can find us@survivorshipsolutions.com. That’s our website and our courses on our homepage. So they can just click, click on the link, they’ll see the education and they’ll see some of the other, you know, consulting services and things like that that we also provide. But and certainly there’s contact page. They can reach out to us. We’re happy to, to have conversation with anybody.

Speaker 1 (39:59):

Perfect. And what about social media? Where can people find you follow you, et cetera?

Speaker 3 (40:03):

We are all over social media. We’re on LinkedIn. We’re on Twitter, on Instagram and I forgetting what’s the other one, Facebook both personally and professionally where we’re both on there. So maybe you can find us there.

Speaker 1 (40:17):

What are your handles?

Speaker 3 (40:19):

Our business handle is survivorship solutions for LinkedIn and for Twitter. It’s survivorship Sol.

Speaker 1 (40:26):

Perfect. Excellent. And we will have the links to all of this at the show notes for this episode at podcast on healthy, wealthy, smart.com. So if you want to get more information on the course, follow them on social media become if you’re a physical therapist out there listening, and you want to become competent and safe to treat patients, cancer patients, which we now know, we all will at some point then definitely check them out. So Kristin and Jillian, thank you so much for coming on. I appreciate your time.

Speaker 2 (41:03):

Thanks so much for having us. It’s been our pleasure.

Speaker 3 (41:06):

Thanks, Cara. It’s been fun. Thanks so much.

Speaker 1 (41:08):

And everyone, thanks so much for listening. Have a great couple of days and stay healthy, wealthy and smart.

 

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©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.

©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.