Meet Dr. Rachel Waugh
Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Rachel Waugh
Hi Dr. Waugh, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
My name is Dr. Rachel Waugh. I graduated from Nazareth College in Rochester, NY in 2013 with my Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy (DPT) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science. I am a licensed PT in the states of NY and FL, and I am Certified in Pelvic Floor Therapy, Level 1.
After graduation from my DPT program and upon being fulling licensed, I was fortunate enough to travel for a year as a traveling Physical Therapist working in Minnesota, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York. I worked in a multitude of settings from acute neurological rehab., sports performance clinics, outpatient clinics, hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities. It was during this year of travel that I gained an outstanding amount experience and met some wonderful people who taught me and allowed me to both grow in ways I had not thought possible. However, after this amazing experience, I developed my first wave of feeling burned out. I remember feeling that my spark, which I had upon graduation, had slowly faded and I couldn’t figure out why. I had the brilliant idea to inform my mother that I was going to take a break for a while, to be a bartender and take some time to figure out that perfect ‘life dream’ of mine. As one could imagine, she did not embrace this with the same level of enthusiasm that I had. More truthfully, not at all. So, scratch that thought.
Instead, I changed jobs. I moved back to the city where I received my doctorate degree and began working in the Home Health industry, working one-on-one with patients. I was surprised how much I Ioved this role. At the same time, I also took an Adjunct Professor position at my Alma Mater working in their on-site pro bono clinics. During this role, I was able to work one-on-one teaching students while they worked with patients to help prepare them to enter the world of Physical Therapy. Both of these roles kept me fulfilled for about 3-4 years until I heard that little voice in my head that made me feel unsatisfied. This time, I decided reach out to a few colleagues to determine if this feeling was unique to me or was it a common thread amongst those in the profession (I left the bartender idea out of it this time). Collectively, we learned it’s a lot more common. We thought maybe it was the hours, the paperwork, or seeing 2-4 patients an hour just to maintain productivity standards at some companies. Multiple people encouraged me to do something different by stating, “Do your own thing!”, “Open your own clinic!!”. I ignored those comments back then as it seemed incredibly daunting.
Around that time, I was offered a position as Director of Rehabilitation, managing three different sites (hospital, skilled nursing, and outpatient). I jumped at this opportunity thinking, “This is it! This is what I was looking for!”. I enjoyed it until that nagging feeling occurred yet again after some time.
I spent many sleepless nights trying to figure out what it is that I needed in order to stay in the Physical Therapy arena asking myself questions such as: “How do I give my best to everyone I see, Where and how can I deliver what I need to for those in need?”, and How do I really make an impactful difference in the lives that I touch”? I would stay awake thinking about my session with my patients and how often I wished I had 15 more minutes because I knew this technique could help but I didn’t have time and billing would not allow for it. More importantly, I kept wanting a one-on-one clinic with a holistic approach that saw the whole person and not just one problem through one lens. I longed for a clinic that taught, educated, promoted wellness, and would strive to get their patients better, faster, (read again… getting patients better… faster… and educated).
For personal reasons, I moved to Florida in the middle of the COVID pandemic and while everything was new decided to look for that job that offered just what I was looking for. I felt strong in my conviction that the ideal clinic sitting inside my head had to be out there somewhere. Well, instead what I found out was that while one can move geographic locations, the idealist clinic sitting in my head did not exist. I recalled a quote, “build it and they will come”.
So, here I am. Welcome to RW I PT!! With RW/PT I believe I have combined the best of all settings into one. I am a mobile/virtual physical therapist. I provide treatment modalities in a number of different ways, convenient to you. I can treat you virtually, in your home, or will meet you in a gym! This way, I can meet you exactly where you are, where its comfortable, convenient, and confidential for you.
With nine years of clinical experience ranging from pediatrics to geriatrics, high-performance athletes, post-surgical patients, and treating pelvic floor conditions, I am bringing a wide variety of interventions, evidence-based treatments, and the most up-to-date techniques to get you where you need to be!
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road? I believe the road that got me here included all the twists, turns, and bumps along the way that landed me exactly where I am. I think there were times that were challenging where I definitely questioned if I was on the right path if physical therapy was my calling. Despite all of those thoughts and self-doubts, I knew this was what I was meant to do. My love and passion for what I do drives me every day
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on? I have been a Physical Therapist for almost 10 years. I have worked in a multitude of settings and have gained amazing experiences. Traditionally, we view physical therapy and therapists as a “person you go to when you are hurt.” While that still rings true, there are other reasons to seek physical therapy. You could be a weekend warrior just trying to get to your next race or event with no injuries, you could be a person just starting out on your health and wellness journey and need a little guidance as to what to do, or you may be someone who is hurt or injured- we have the tools to help everyone.
What sets me apart from others is that I only accept cash as forms of payment. Now, some people may look at that and think it’s too expensive and they would rather use insurance. That’s 100% okay. However, when we deal with insurance, we are at the mercy of what they decide is true physical therapy. Interventions, modalities, and some evidenced-based care is not supported by insurance meaning we do not get reimbursed for that. You may be lucky and come across an insurance-based practice that continues to do all of the interventions that are not reimbursed but it’s rare. I also work exclusively 1-1 with people. If you go to an insurance practice, you may be 1 of 4 people that hour with the same therapist.
Imagine paying a co-pay of $50 2x a week up to 8 weeks so a total of 16 visits which equals $800 and you get maybe 15-20 minutes of hands-on from the therapist.
Or pay a little more for 1-1 visits, get the entire 60 minutes of hands-on therapy and individualized attention and get better that much faster, you will be paying equal to or less and get better in half the time.
I also treat pelvic floor dysfunction. I am able to treat females who have any dysfunction including incontinence, stress or urge incontinence, leakage, pain with sex, postpartum rehab, diastasis recti, safe exercises during pregnancy, and much more. I am able to provide 1-1 sessions in the comfort of their home to allow for safe spaces.
Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years? I think our industry is doing a huge shift right now. I am seeing a lot of colleagues branch away from traditional therapy and start their own cash-based practice integrating new techniques and really improving the lives and performance of the people they see. Again, this is without insurance dictating what it is we can and cannot do and we are seeing a significant impact in our communities. I think social media is a huge outlet for all of us in some way or another. I really believe that the colleagues that are shifting to cash-based are changing the way the world and other therapists view traditional therapy. They have been the pavers and shifters changing an entire generation of therapists that are up and coming. It’s truly incredible to be on this journey of change during a global shift towards self-care, mental health, and overall health and wellness.
This trend and shift can only go up from here.
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