World Physiotherapy Day 2022

On the occasion of World Physiotherapy Day, we talked to Mrs. Petra Kotnik, senior physiotherapist and BA in Organizational Sciences, who is a lecturer at the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Novo Mesto. One can feel her complete dedication to her profession and care for others which certainly inspires her students, the future physiotherapists.

How did you get interested in the profession of a physiotherapist?

I decided to be a physiotherapist already in primary school. Unfortunately, an injury and later a surgery on not only one, but both knee joints, made me decide to become one. Watching therapists helping me and others rehabilitate, I just knew what I wanted to do in my life.

Please tell us about your career?

At the end of my second year of studies at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Ljubljana (back in 1995), I mapped out my career path. I first came to do an internship at Šmarješke Toplice for two weeks and stayed on as a student to help due to staff shortages. I also got a scholarship, and a job followed logically after that, but I never stopped studying. I trained in the field of manual therapy, orthopedic medicine and actively participated in symposia and congresses. I completed my BA studies at the University of Maribor. After 25 years, I accepted an invitation from the University of Novo mesto to become a lecturer at the Faculty of Health Sciences.

What do you find the most beautiful in your profession?

The most rewarding is the patient’s face showing there is no pain any more. A happy patient who tells you that things are getting better, that they can eat by themself, take a spoon of food into their mouth, they can buckle their bra on the back, they can comb their hair, they can go to the bathroom and wash, go to the toilet by themselves. I believe this can sound funny, but it is far from funny when you find yourself in this place not being able to do these simple everyday things. You only understand it if you yourself have experienced it. I tried all of that on my own. Unfortunately, we don’t cherish our life and health enough. We don’t do much to stay healthy and fit.

What’s hard?

When there is no improvement. When your patient doesn’t make an effort and goes in the opposite direction apart from the path you wished he would go.

How do you see this profession fits into individual’s path to health?

People come to us when they are already in pain, when there is an injury. That is absolutely right. But it is also important that a person gets to the physiotherapist in time and not after a few months. I am of course also referring to the problem of too long waiting queues in the Slovenian public health system.

I also think that the profession of physiotherapist is not sufficiently integrated into prevention. There is a great deal that is being missed. Today we read how much hypokinesia there is in the world, even in the young generation. I believe that physiotherapists should be present more at the primary level, including kindergartens and schools, as someone who would advise and educate young people and later in their profession. If we succeeded, we would certainly help to reduce long-term pain and absenteeism from work and help people become happier individuals who care about themselves and the society.

A job of a physiotherapist seems really demanding. It is very important to keep in touch with new findings, to combine techniques, approaches.

Yes, everything you have said it is true and they must not forget that they have to take care of themselves first. They have to be in good physical and mental condition.

What do you tell your students about what a physiotherapist should be like?

First and foremost, he/she must be a PERSON. They must listen and hear. They have to want to help others and be happy at what they do. Otherwise, one cannot lead a happy life.

We thank Mrs. Petra Kotnik for taking the time and sharing her thoughts with us.

Want to know about new products and technologies?
Subscribe to our newsletter