In this episode, Owner of Access Physical Therapy, Clarence Holmes, Jr, talks about generational differences in physical therapy.

Today, Clarence talks about burnout, the idea of value, and the different ideas of pay structure. Why is the measurement of productivity problematic?

Hear about the promise of mentorship for lower pay, the problem of toxic positivity, and finding the better way in each new generation, all on today’s episode of The Healthy, Wealthy & Smart Podcast.


Key Takeaways

  • “The reason why things are fluid and changing with every generation is because there’s always a better way.”
  • “We have to be open to that better way.”
  • “No one loves PTs as much as PTs love PTs.”
  • “It is so heathy to have a full well-rounded conversation that points out the bad and the good, and you don’t have to finish with a positive statement in a conversation.”
  • “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
  • “It’s become an expectation in this country to overwork.”


More about Clarence Holmes, Jr

headshot of Dr. Clarence HolmesDr Clarence Holmes, Jr is a native of Cleveland MS. He attended Mississippi State University for his undergraduate studies and received his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 2014. Dr Holmes then completed an orthopedic residency with Mercer university in Atlanta GA in 2015. He has worked in various settings to include sports/outpatient orthopedics, acute care, and the state jail system. Now, he owns and operates Access Physical Therapy, a concierge cash based physical therapy practice in the Atlanta metropolitan area. He also works as a staff physical therapist with Kindred At Home.

Dr Holmes has been involved with APTA at various levels to include 2 terms on the Student Assembly Board of Directors, delegate for the state of Georgia to the House of Delegates, and currently serves as a board member for the Georgia Foundation for Physical Therapy.

In his free time, he also owns and operates The Travel Doctor, a full service travel agency as well as tackling small woodworking projects. He also scuba dives and enjoys traveling the world with his beautiful wife, Turquoise and their golden retriever and chihuahua/terrier mix puppies.


Suggested Keywords

Healthy, Wealthy, Smart, Healthcare, Physiotherapy, Burnout, Generational Differences, Productivity, Mentorship, Improvement,


To learn more, follow Clarence at:


Twitter:            @matterundrmined

Instagram:       @caholmes6

Facebook:       @clarenceh3


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Read the Full Transcript Here:

Hello, this is Jenna Cantor with healthy, wealthy and smart. I’m really excited. I am interviewing Dr. Clarence a Holmes Jr. Just wrote on Zoom, or we’re doing the interview. And Dr. Clarence who said, just call me clearance. I’m like, Okay, hi, Clarence, said that he works with home health and is the owner of a concierge cash based practice, which everybody who listens knows I’m cash based. I’m like, Yeah, hello, Conrad. I love that so much. Let’s serve our people, our patients. We are coming on because we met at a conference. And there was a discussion on generational differences in physical therapy. And Clarence had some real interesting thoughts on this. And I was like, this is a podcast in the making. So I approached him right away. And I said, Can we do this topic and a podcast? And fortunately enough, he said, Yes. Like a proposal. It was beautiful. So here we are talking about generational differences in physical therapy. I think this is a really, really important topic. Now. I just let’s just start diving in to one we’re saying general racial differences, everyone, please don’t refrain from getting offended with how we, how we try to describe this, because this is one we’re differentiating between ages. And I saw I saw individuals struggling with that trying to be appropriate. So if we do say anything in our descriptions, inappropriate, feel free, please absolutely correct us. But be nice, because we’re doing the best we can. But this is a very important conversation. So we’d rather take the risk in in really diving into the topic. So yeah, just let’s all be nice. Okay. So regarding generational differences, I’m assuming that we’re talking about the more seasoned crowd, people who have been around for a long period of time, compared to newer people in the physical therapy. Oh, right. Correct. Am I missing anything? Or is there any other way we need to define it?



No, I mean, and honestly, you’re talking about me when you said if you recognize people being uncomfortable, trying to differentiate between these these generations, in conversation without trying to fin that was me at our conference. I didn’t want to say the boomer generation, I didn’t want to say the millennials simply because a lot of people tie a lot of negative connotations to those. And we’re



also missing Gen X, because Gen X is actually the y’all are the youngest practitioners right now. Not millennials. Yeah.



Yeah. And I think there’s a lot of similar Z



is Z. Oh, my God, ie, Z. Oh, my gosh, I missed the letter in the alphabet. Yeah. It might



be x. I don’t don’t hold me to it. But But, but yeah, so that was one. But But no, you captured it perfectly. I do think there is a a riff between the older generation and the younger generation to just put it put it lightly. Yeah. Just simply because and I mentioned it in the conferences that the older generation are the ones who are owning these practices, traditional practices. And the younger generation, our generation are the ones who tend to be more of the employees. And that’s natural. But what’s what’s unnatural? Well, this is also natural to have some generational difference was unnatural is the riff, the, the battle that kind of comes along with it, and how we respond to it. So



yeah, so let’s, yeah, I love that. Let’s do what we’re aware. I was very interested. Let’s go back and and just do one general generational difference at a time and then if we okay, I feel like that’s what pops in our head for now. And that’s it. That’s great. So one, just named one at the top of your head one Gen. Gen. Oh, my gosh, why is this? So? General? generational difference, let’s start with one.



So I mean, there’s two big ones that stick out to me. One is just this idea of pay structure. And specifically in the PT realm of, of how long has someone been here? versus what is this person doing for my company? And the best example I can give is me personally, of working in a job my first job post residency. I’m an ortho I’m a lover, or I will consider myself an ortho PT, even though I work in the home health arena, and the concierge cash base, I will consider myself an orthopedic physical therapist. My first job post residency was at a private practice in Atlanta, and I was paid the least amount of all the therapists across the entire company, which was four practices in Atlanta. But I was the second highest producing therapists in the company. And so, you know, generational differences comes down to the old way of doing things was, who has the most experience, they get paid the most? My personal opinion is, that’s not logical, we’re, I’m a logical being and a lot of my generation are, if it doesn’t make sense to us, we’re going to be vocal about it. And it didn’t make sense to me that I was producing one paper, more money, better outcomes than the majority of the therapists and I was paid the least, that’s one major win. And it kind of feeds into the second you asked for one, but this kind of feeds into it. Younger generations, older generations value loyalty. You know, they expect somebody to come in and work for them for 10 to 1520, almost 30 their entire careers. And my generation just, we’re not happy, we’re going to move on. And so that puts a lot of responsibility on the employer to find out what makes us happy. And sometimes that just doesn’t, that doesn’t translate well.



Yeah, I see where these connect, let’s focus on the first one, because that is a really good, interesting point, I have definitely mentored some dance PTS who are burnt out, and they are in a situation where, Oh, Gosh, darn it, what is it productivity, productivity is measured. And that has been very problematic for them, because they’ll come in, and they see that they are, they know, they’re getting paid less. But they’re not more because in your case, you actually saw the data, but they’re seeing the, they are seeing the exact number of patients as a seasoned professional, there, and they’re just they don’t understand why they’re getting paid less, if they’re seeing the same amount, then they were there, they would imagine, I would be seeing less patients, then that would make more sense, you know, but no, that’s not the case. And therefore, that income would still be it is assumed that income would still be made. So it’s almost like they’re being profit, they’re more of a profit is being made off of them. They’re exhausted, you know, but they’re not getting a lighter load to feed that exhaustion, that adjustment, they’re getting treated just the same. And so they don’t understand that pay difference when they come in. And I’m going to bounce off this a little bit more because of what the reasoning so it’s going to get a slightly off topic, but I’m always okay with that is the promise of mentorship as a reason for why they are paying less that can be a reasoning behind it, which still, there are some clinics that actually provide mentorship, but the majority of them do not actually provide that mentorship, so it’s more verbage. Or they have some sort of automated system, that’s there maybe videos or something. So there, it’s not really an extra effort. It’s something that’s already there that can help streamline what’s going on. Especially if you’re in a place that measures the productivity. You can promise it as a as a somebody owns a clinic, however, who’s the physical therapist, and how much time do they actually have to really mentor? So if there really, it doesn’t make sense, right? This reasoning of oh, why, you know, and these are generational, different thoughts, but for I think that’s what you’re hitting is that the younger generation will speak their minds and say, hey, you know, they’re not getting that mentorship, they’re not getting that value for them to go. Oh, that’s why then because they get oh, you know what, I’m getting great mentorship, kind of like where people think residencies, getting great mentorship that get one in paying less I get it. I totally get it. That’s not the case. No, no, in a lot of circumstances.



Seven years, I think I’ve been out seven and a half years for a PT school. And I’ve never been in an environment outside of residency that that had any type of formal mentorship. But you’re correct in that I’ve have had several interviews with several companies that have promised mentorship because that was important to me. I kind of did less the reason I worked at the job that I did that I’m mentioning in this in this interview. This conversation. The reason I took that job, and I knew I was getting paid less than I was worth. Um, the reason I took it was because my clinical manager and the only person who was more productive than I was a personal mentor, who was my was one of my direct mentors in residency. And so I saw it as an opportunity to continue getting mentored. And so I’m getting an exchange of additional mentorship. I will take less pay.



Okay, yes. And your, your through your apps, you’re like, Oh, yes, yes.



Correct. But there was no formal mentorship. Now, I did continue work with this guy. I did learn a lot from him. But there was no formal.



That’s a big, that’s a big deal. It’s not exactly,



exactly. And there’s no when is the end point? I mean, when is the point where I say, Okay, I’ve received enough mentorship now I’m ready to get paid. Okay. Right. There has to be some kind of trade off there. So. But you’re absolutely correct that that is there is a common promise of these employers to employees, younger, generational PTS, of mentorship, in exchange for, you know, lower, less than ideal pay, but is delivered upon.



Right, right. And I think that’s the thing, because there’s different ways to work around depending on the clinic, and everything that can happen in these rooms for negotiation. So when these different mindsets come into the room, for it to work out, but you got to follow through on both sides. One is providing the mentorship and the other side is accepting, that’s what you accepted, and knowing that owning that. So, but it can be I mean, you know, what I was about to go into different things you can negotiate, but this is not a lesson on negotiation. So I’m going to skip over that. So yeah, when you when you are going into a clinic, I feel like that is a way to potentially solve the problem, but it’s just not being solved right now. It’s it’s still, these gentlemen are the we have people who own these businesses who are getting annoyed about the the younger generation talking about money, but then they’re not looking at, they’re not really listening and taking in what is being said, because it’s it’s a block that we can get our own bias on how we lived our lives. And, and we need to get out of ourselves. I say that, as a practice owner, myself, we have to always work to get out of ourselves all the time, in order to better listen, to be with the changes of the world. And the reason why there are changes, but the reason why things are fluid, and it’s always changing with every generation and so on, is because there’s always a better way. Right? And we may not answer to it. But But there’s always a better way. And and you got to figure out, you know, what’s what’s going to if you really care so much about keeping them around for a long time. And that’s, that’s a big deal for you. And absolutely, totally get that it’s great to have somebody there for a long time, then what is it that they care about? What is it that they care about? You know, and how do you and then if you want to do something that is not financial? Because your your clinic can only afford so much? What are those intangibles that you can bring to the table? Or even the physical therapist coming into work for them? What are those intangibles, and that’s where you can really come to the table for a better exchange with those generational differences. I think, you know, and,



you know, and one of the things that you kind of touched on is that we have to be, there’s always a better way, and we have to be open to that better way. And I think that’s where we run into an issue of when a younger generational PT says, well, this doesn’t make sense to me, I want this amount of money. That’s not us complaining. And I think that can be perceived as, as as, as a complaint, US whining, because we were known as the whiny generation. We you know, we complain a lot and what compared to what we’re told is that we complain a lot, we’re whining, we’re never satisfied. And it’s not that we’re whining. It’s not that we’re sad. It’s just that we grew up in the information age, we know what the PT next was making. Well, we know what the average PT makes. And so we come to the table and ask for this. It’s not as whining and it shouldn’t be perceived that way and we shouldn’t be promoted as the whining generation is annoying. Having the information available to us and trying to benefit on or not even benefit just just be pay. We’re given what we’re worth. You know, we’re rainbows and clouds profession. I mean, we we are a just a happy, just beautiful people and we just love people love everybody. And we’re so happy go lucky and lovey dovey and I love that about us. But one thing that we do tend to forget is that the word can mean that we are healthcare practitioners first, but this is also a business. We have to be sustainable, to be able to provide the jobs for our employees, we have to be fulfilled in our careers to be able to provide the care the level of care that our patients deserve. And some of the ways that we do that is to ensure that our employees are happy. Somebody brought up at the conference, the idea of valuing your employees. And value in itself. I think, for us as this lovey dovey profession means so many different things, but value in itself as a word is a financial word. What is the value of me as a a physical therapist? I know my financial value, if you cannot meet that, as you’ve already touched on, if you can’t meet what I’m asking for what else can you meet me, meet me halfway meet me with increase vacation days, maybe with an increase a formal mentorship program. We’re supposed to meet and you’re supposed to meet me where I am as an employee. And so I think that’s where there’s a big barrier as well. And that sometimes we’re a little bit too focused on intangible things where a lot of or several of us are looking for tangible benefits in my generation. So I think that’s a big riff. And it’s a it’s got to do with our identity crisis in our profession that I said this at the conference. Nobody loves pts. As much as PTS love BTS. And that’s our issue as as a profession that we have to address. And I think that kind of that kind of flows over into this this generational difference. Oh, my God, it does. It does. Absolutely. Absolutely. And so that’s, you know, I don’t want to get too deep here, but I want I actually



want to bounce off you because, yes, because they popped in my head earlier. And I was like, I just let the idea, you know, because I just want to listen to you. But yes, it’s the Pete, the best thing to T PTS, you know, and there’s nothing wrong with us, the more seasoned professional that I mean, yes, ever. When I say this, I know they’re seasoned. Like, I know, they’re sick, we’re not perfect. But the C’s, they they live on this rainbows and clouds. I’m just saying, I know, it’s a harsh way to say it. I hear I hear what I’m saying. But whatever I’m gonna say it. And then we have where the younger generation, I think it’s Gen Z, because Gen X is before. So okay, so we have the Gen Z, and the millennials are newer in the profession. And they’re not afraid to point out things that they think are wrong. But I think then with that in mind, I think from higher up there is toxic positivity. And I think that’s where that comes in. Where it’s pushed upon, you cannot say anything bad. But then we lose this honesty and transparency in what’s going on in the communication. And, and God forbid, something bad is said, you know, boy, and guess who’s on social media, everyone? So if you’re talking about, you know, like, oh, there’s younger people are complaining. Facebook is older people, man, Twitter is older people. Like there’s some younger on there too. Yeah. But like the hotspots to be at are tick tock and mostly ticked in my opinion. Tick tock. Yes. And then I think I never looked at the data. So yeah, but I think Instagram is secondary, but that also has to do with like, how I like to watch the videos personally, I can I can scroll through the Tick Tock thing and then I can go to Instagram Instagrams a little bit not as smooth I go back to tick tock okay. So um, but but that’s you know, that’s where it’s so far talking about all the younger they all they do is complain that’s, that’s all ages baby. That’s all ages, we all we we all like don’t I think it is so healthy, to have a full well rounded conversation that points out the bad and the good and you don’t have to finish with a positive statement in a conversation about it’s okay to end in a gray area. It’s okay to end in a dark area and both see it you know, yeah, that is I don’t have a solution. Like that’s actually that’s not a good thing. It’s okay. But we but this toxic positivity puts anybody going through anything on the spot if you’re anybody who might be oh gosh, dealing with somebody who is has poor health in your family and you can’t talk about it or mention it at all and you’re yet to put on this face. I get it. That’s you know, I’m putting in air quotes professionalism, but professional professional only means literally other profession. Everything else is defined by you. Or defined by me. So literally, that’s all perfect. Like everything else is like up in the air up for grabs. however you interpret it. So the you know, took like, place these these random rules on what professionalism, professionalism is from that point on is is purely subjective. And that’s where that toxic positivity comes in. Yeah. And then in then we get these risks these butting heads, because everybody has different core values, which is great. And I think that is a huge generational difference and where we lose and miss out on opportunities to listen and hear more.



Correct, correct. And that’s where the issue becomes. I spoke on generational differences, as in the context of what is leading to burnout in early career professionals are the career pts. And I spoke on generational differences as one of the things that I thought was a key key difference. And one thing to note to note is that this isn’t specific to pt. It’s not burnout is not specific to PT, these generational differences is not are not just specific to physical therapy. This is a doula globally, this is definitely an issue in our country. There are, you know, I’m gonna make this a political conversation. But you know, there are, you know,



whatever all’s fair game when you’re with me,



you see, there’s a group of people that believe that, you know, there’s no, this is the greatest country on Earth. And that this is there, they would, they would know, they would not live anywhere else. And to say anything bad about our country is anti American. And then there’s another generation that says, this is a good country to live in. This is, hey, I’m happy to live here. But there’s a crap ton of issues that we need to address to make this country as great as it could be. And so that is, I say all that to say that there is no, I don’t think we solve this issue. I don’t know if there is a solid solution to the issue. But as I stated before, I do believe there are pptx, specific generational difference issues that we can address. And we should address. And as long as everybody is willing to hear each other out. Yeah, compromise, which is kind of where my conversation was with with the gentleman at the conference that we spoke about earlier. I had an opinion, but I heard him out. And I still don’t agree with him. 100%. But I can identify a little bit more with where he’s coming from. And I think that’s key, I think it’s important to have these conversations get uncomfortable with being, you know, get comfortable with being uncomfortable. And have these uncomfortable conversations to say, yes, these are the issues we have with your generation. These are the issues y’all have with mine. Where is that common ground? You know, is they always is, like you said better than we are? And so So, you know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I’m not the visionary, I see that you I can’t give you the solution. I



don’t know where I know, it’s just to have a conversation. So that’s all we’re just having a conversation about this, which I think is great. You know, to get your minds and everyone’s minds to start to think you know, are there you know, generational differences and everything. And be careful as you listen, it can be very hard because we there are a lot of people we’re going to people help, we’re a service business. And with that we get these people pleasing mindsets, where we can lose ourselves. And I would actually say definitely big time in the younger, newer generation. And in order to please the generation that has been around longer, we don’t listen to ourselves and just agree it’s okay to disagree. It doesn’t mean you have to disagree. But really keep challenging yourself to get more and more in tune with what you believe in. And greater conversations can happen, greater solutions, greater growth and progress between all of us can happen, which is so cool. And it may not happen overnight, where you feel comfortable to talk about it. But keep I definitely agree with what you’re saying. It’s just if you can just keep even if it’s a little bit challenge yourself a little bit more every time to just, you know, get there, you know, not easy, not easy. No. I love it. Any any other generational differences that you think oh, Jenna this or have we reached kind of your like, those are kind of the main ones where we



Yeah, no, I I do think those are my, you know, very inter intertwine those two that I talked about. I don’t think that as as a this is sort of like a final word if you Yes, yes. I do think that specifically to this country, we value overwork For example, I, you know, I think that we value the the clinician or the co worker, not just in PT, but in general, we value the person who does the things that they’re not required to do as a part of their job. That’s what we use to determine who is who’s that shining employee, who’s the one that that goes above and beyond. Right. And it shouldn’t be that I mean, for example, I remember, at this same job, we hit a low point, we hit a low point, always in January, it’s an outpatient clinic, deductibles reset, so we’re January, it was a low period, had a lot of openings on my schedule, so that everyone else and I was sitting in and getting caught up on documentation, going over some things with my mentor, learning new skills, in walks the owner, are asked, What are we doing? I tell him, you know, I’m trying to learn some things. And he says, Well, why don’t we are marketing? I say, What do you mean? He said, you know, your patients, your schedule is low, why aren’t you are out, you know, getting us new clients. And I’m like, that’s not my job. Is that is you are the employer, you hired me to see the patients that frequent your establishment. Okay, I’m not the one to go out and beg these physicians to send us, okay, how much begging you do, the deductibles reset, that’s going to be a phenomenon that happens every single year. So, but that’s what the expectation from some employers have. Yes, I hired you to see patients and turning the documentation on time. But in also, I expect you to do these things, these these things that I didn’t tell you about in your interview, but we expect you to do these things is become an expectation in this country, to overwork to do things that are not required to view and that is how we measure our employees and not on the job that they do. If you see all the patients on your schedule, go home on time, get your documentation in on time, and it’s all you did for the rest of your life as a PT you’d never be promoted and you know in traditional practices so I say that’s that’s another generational thing is that I think we older generations value overwork working you all you need to be busy all the time. And we value we being the younger generations, a healthy balance of work and home life. I think that is another riff all of these are intertwined, but I think that’s a another riff that’s that’s that’s causing an issue, not just in our not just in our profession, but but across this whole country.



Now, yeah, definitely. I love it. Thank you so much for coming on to talk about this. If you are listening to this podcast, and you have some other ideas and stuff, feel free to write in the comments, just keep the conversation going. I think it’s always good to just talk about it. And then And then if you’re somebody who’s about to go in for job interviews, write these things down for you to consider what you’re going to bring to the table for your negotiations track on both sides, what was discussed in that interview? So it’s very clear. If things come up that are that we’re not included, it’s so you can have a better chance of being on the same page. Yes, you’re correct. We didn’t bring that up, or you know what we need to make sure we bring that up, because that does come up, the more we can be on top of that transparency in the communication can better help address generational differences right off the bat, do keep in mind seasoned professionals owning your own practice when these students are graduating, they have a very low sense in general sense of self worth. So for the overwhelming majority, they usually jump at a job faster than they should. Because they are so excited. Anyone wants them. And that is a big thing that happens often at clinics. So just be aware of that them saying yes doesn’t necessarily mean they were listening to what they wanted in the first place. Because they feel so grateful that they were not rejected, they were accepted. And that takes over everything. It helps it feeds into them eliminating what their core wants are because they struggle with self value. Alright, that’s it. Where can people find you on the social or email, whatever you feel comfortable with sharing.



So I laugh when you say the old people are on Facebook and Twitter because that’s really what I use is



and I’m in that category. So I feel comfortable saying



I’m not a Snapchatter I do have an Instagram. My Facebook name is just mine. That’s what I’m primarily on. That’s where I’m most entertaining. Book



is it clearance a home’s nobody’s claiming homes, clients homes,



parents homes as well. I’m the one that’s scuba diving in my photo.



If it changes to hiking, everyone’s gonna get confused.



I know why it’s not going to just all my photos are nice. And then my instagram name is CA Homes six ca h o l mes the number six. Oh, I



love it California. You’re not from there. But it’s fun to say. Wonderful. Thank you so much for coming on. Everyone. If you’re listening, please be nice. Be nice. Yeah, you can communicate but be kind. If there is any possibility that what you wrote might be in a way interpreted in a mean tone. Don’t write it. I just don’t I don’t see. Like, honestly, it’s just why and I’m not being toxic positive. I’m just being real. Like it’s only going to just why why? Like go speak to your legislative representative about it, you know that you can actually make changes. Alright, that’s it. Thank you for coming on.

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©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.
©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.