Meet the Physical Therapist: Dr. Kristen Schulte
While I did not always know that I would be a physical therapist, I always knew that I was going to have to play a big role in changing physical therapy. Like many physical therapists, I was once the injured athlete. That is not entirely true. During my competitive running career at Xavier University, I was just plain “injury prone”. Unlike other physical therapists, however, I was not inspired to become one as a result of the excellent therapy I received. On the contrary, often when I tried physical therapy, I was put through an irrelevant protocol that I usually conducted independently because my therapist was busy seeing other patients.
If this type of physical therapy, which seemed to be the norm, was not helping me get better, then it likely was not helping the majority of people. The only way to change it was to become a physical therapist myself. If I could just treat patients as individuals and actually spend one-on-one time with them, then maybe all patients really could improve with physical therapy.
But even the most avid revolutionary needs a mentor. Thankfully, I found mine just before applying to graduate school. While his clinic did not necessarily support my ideal model, he worked hard for his patients, and I was lucky enough to be one of them with my latest orthopedic ailment. He read research articles on my specific condition and treated innovatively. When I found that he earned his doctorate from the University of Dayton, I knew that I too must attend to UD. (In fact, UD is regionally renowned for its curricular emphasis on manual therapy and orthopedics.)
From there, I managed to find a whole host of rockstar clinicians to mentor me during my various clinical rotations: physical therapists who treated each patient as though he or she was the most important person in the room. Their impact on the way I treat is immeasurable. Still, though, they were all held to the same standards set by insurance, the arch-nemesis of physical therapists in that it dictates how many patients a therapist must see an hour and how many visits each patient gets.
As soon as I earned my doctorate, I knew exactly what I needed to do: I had to bring physical therapy back to what it was meant to be, patient to therapist and without room for a middle man (insurance). By doing that, I could treat only one patient at a time and for an entire hour. The patients could pay a flat fee at the end of their session so that they would not be burdened by delayed third-party billing.
In April 2018, my dream clinic became reality when I opened Physical Therapy 212 in downtown Troy, OH. It was not random that I chose Troy. Being from Versailles originally, I know entirely too well that the small communities “just north of Dayton” cherish word-of-mouth recommendations and personal relationships with their providers, and therefore I also know that the level of care that I provide will mesh with the high expectations of this community. I look forward to serving Troy and the surrounding areas for many years to come.