Many know Zsuzsanna “Lili” Lukács, FirstMed’s senior physical therapist and coordinator of the physical therapy department. We asked Lili about FirstMed: her early days, how she sees the future, and everyday treats and challenges. Here’s Lili’s story.
I have been working for FirstMed since March 2010 as a physical therapist. In the beginning I only spent a few hours being a week as part of FirstMed’s team of physical therapists. Surprisingly, I was the only Hungarian. Four years is a long time and since then I have become the coordinator of the team, but the path that led to this point was challenging.
In 2010 when I began working at FirstMed, I was practicing also as a physical therapist at another private clinic. Up to this point in my career I had worked only for state institutions, and I found the change to private clinics exciting. But it did not take long from me to feel the impact of working for two clinics. Because of a heavy workload, my personal life began to suffer. Realizing that I needed to make a difficult choice of one clinic over the other, I chose FirstMed.
From my first day at FirstMed I felt that I was growing personally and professionally. I enjoyed the interaction with my American and Israeli colleagues as well as everyone’s attitude and spirit of cooperation. That was a special time for me. I had been given a rare opportunity to work closely with talented people. Striving for harmony with my co-workers and professional development, I became more open to new ways of working effectively.
Due to the departure of several physical therapists a little over a year ago, I took over the role of PT coordinator in January 2013. I must stress that I do not see myself as a boss, but instead, as those before me, I want to help the PT group as an overall organizer. With many management skills still learned, I accepted the challenge because I am constantly striving to improve myself.
In our team everyone is equal. We respect and learn from each other, and that is where the beauty lies. Every one of us adds a unique bit of our own personality to the healing and correction process that we provide. We may see solutions to problems differently, but by sharing our insights with each other, we learn together. This leads to a rich collective experience and vision.
What I really love in my job
One of my favorite elements of my job is the initial meeting with a new patient. When I first meet a new patient, it is not only getting to know their personalities and their PT needs, but also, I search for a mutual understanding. Often what I find is that many people need help to understand their own body.
Finding the body’s language
When I ask a patient to stand in front of the mirror, we scan their body from head to toe. Only then do many patients realize that “Oh, my legs are not straight…” or “Wow, my hips are not aligned and that might be having an effect on my spine.” It is very exciting to be able to convey this knowledge in a comprehensible way that motivates the patient to want to change.
Once the patient starts opening up to their own bodies, they will also start being more open to their own selves. By this point they begin to ask questions like “Why am I shrugging my shoulders when I talk? Am I ill at ease when I talk?” What is remarkable is that by this point it is not me asking the questions; rather, the patients ask questions of themselves. What follows is my guiding the patient through the process of self-realization, session by session. I will be their partner/guide through these discoveries. I am there to hold their hands, and knowing at the same time when to let them go.
What does the future bring?
I constantly strive for self-improvement in myself and in my patients. It is a worthwhile but difficult process as it poses challenges. It comes with question and doubt, which can be uncomfortable. It would be great to experience harmony in life without any imbalance between person and environment. However, in many cases, harmony is found when we overcome challenges in life.