My Story: Why Am I a Physical Therapist?

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Dr. Nick Scotto PT, DPT

jacksonville fl physical therapist Nick Scotto

This line can sum up why I am the Physical Therapist I am today. It all started back when I was a teenager. I was attending a Chiropractor for a back problem. He was very kind and helped a lot. He had a nice personal touch to his office which made me feel like family there and not just another number. When I began to decide what I wanted to do with my life, he suggested that I pursue Physical Therapy instead of Chiropractic. At that point, all I knew was that I wanted to work with people who were in pain in order to make their lives better. I had always been fascinated with how the body moved and functioned but was not drawn to the chemistry/biology medical aspect. Plus, sports were always a big part of my life so I knew the importance of staying active. By helping people get out of pain and stay active I could truly make a difference in people’s lives.

I had been through physical therapy before in my life, but never really paid attention or thought about it as a career. I had some good therapists who were easy to work with and working with people seemed very appealing to me instead of working a typical desk job. Physical Therapy school is very competitive to get into and is not cheap so I wanted to play it smart and make sure it was what I really wanted to do. I always had the idea in the back of my head that I wanted to run a small personal clinic but wasn’t sure if that was possible. Being the best physical therapist for my future patients was always the end goal in mind.

I ended up staying home to attend the local community college and played basketball (a friend suggested that I try out) there while studying my general education and acquiring some courses needed to get into PT school. The jump in level from high school play to junior college was significant and I learned quickly that if I was going to succeed for those two years that I would have to put a lot of hard work both in practice and with my studies. It is that drive and determination that keeps me going today.

After my first two years of college, I transferred to University of South Florida in Tampa, FL (no I was not good enough to play ball there!). My focus quickly shifted solely to achieving the highest grades possible so that I could impress prospective PT schools. I applied to several schools in Florida for Physical Therapy school (I am born and raised in Florida and could not see myself leaving). Thanks to my hard work and dedication I was accepted into the University North Florida in Jacksonville. Little did I know that those 3 years I would spend at UNF would be very formative for my life. Not only did I receive my Doctoral Degree in Physical Therapy, but I met my wife who was also in the program. Attending UNF turned out to be one of the best decisions I made in both my professional and personal life.

Since graduating from UNF I have worked all over Jacksonville as a physical therapist with many great companies and developed many friendships. At each job, I was able to make a difference in other’s lives, but something always seemed to be missing for me professionally. I noticed how the nuances of big company protocols and insurance regulations were getting in the way of patient care. I knew that I would not be satisfied as a physical therapist until I had given myself a shot at running my own clinic (my own clinic with a personal touch). I wanted to help people see the potential in themselves and give them hope that they can truly make a difference in their lives. But would it be worth the risk? At the time, my wife and I had already had our second child and we were not sure about the timing. As all major decisions in my life, I took it to prayer and with a supportive wife the answer was clear. It was time to venture out on my own.

Initially, I began treating people in the convenience of their office or homes. My practice began to grow because of the success of my patients and I was able to set up shop in a small office. Being a family owned and operated small clinic in the middle of Jacksonville, FL can be challenging at times. However, I know that I am able to treat patients how they ought to be treated, the way I would want to be treated. I am not bogged down by insurance regulations or big company protocols that look at the patient as another number and not a person. This allows me to have a unique relationship with the patient; to guide them and educate them on their path to recovery. One thing that is certain, despite the ever-changing healthcare environment, the quality of care and dedication to the patient here at River City Physical Therapy will never change.

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