Crafting a Patient-Centered Business in Physical Therapy with Susie Gronski DPT 055

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About Businesses Focused on Patient Care

In a world where the traditional healthcare system often prioritizes efficiency over patient care, there emerges a narrative that challenges the status quo and shines a light on the potential of healthcare entrepreneurship focused on patient care. This is precisely what Susie Gronski, a urological physical therapist and sex counselor, brings to the table in this episode. She, driven by her mother’s brave battle with disability and a desire for a healthcare system that prioritizes patient care, recounts her journey from the confines of standard practice to the freedom of her own business.

Susie has always wanted to bring empathy and autonomy back to patient care. Her story resonates with many healthcare professionals who feel confined by the restrictive nature of conventional practice settings. As she recounts her experiences, it becomes evident that her move to establish her own business was driven by a desire to create a practice that is dynamic, reflects her values, and is centered on patient empowerment.

In this episode, we talk about the practical aspects of starting a private practice, discussing the sacrifices made and how your values will impact the way you market yourself. We also emphasize the importance of educating your community over traditional physician referrals, and the practice of an abundance mindset.

Her practical advice encourages those on the brink of starting their practice to embrace the journey, starting simple and focusing on the experience rather than the daunting tasks ahead. For those of you dreaming of autonomy in your practice, Susie’s insights offer a blueprint for building a business that reflects your values and passion for patient care.


This show is supported by

  • This month’s sponsor is Engage Movement, the go-to solution for rehab professionals looking to increase their earnings without extending their work hours. Visit and use the promo code REBELS to unlock your training for FREE!

Transcript From Traditional Healthcare to Focusing on Patient Care

Intro 00:01

Welcome to the Rehab Rebels podcast. Are you a rehab professional ready to transition to an alternative career? Hear inspiring stories from others just like you and learn the best ways to bridge your career gap. This podcast has you covered. Now here’s your host, doctor of physical therapy and podcaster, Tanner Welsh. 

Tanner Welsch 00:21

Welcome back to another episode of Rehab Rebels. Today I have Susie Gronski. She is a urological PT and sex counselor. Today we’re going to talk about her journey and a little bit of what it’s like behind the scenes with opening up a practice, PT practice related to your urological and sexual counselor background. So welcome to the show, Susie. 

Susie Gronski 00:45

Thank you so much for having me, Tanner. 

Tanner Welsch 00:47

For sure. Let’s just go ahead and dive into some of the questions here, gradually getting to where you are today. What made you decide to pursue a rehab profession in the first place? 

Susie Gronski 01:00

So my mom was born with spina bifida, she also has a below-the-knee amputation and prosthetic, and it was in high school when we had a career show in town. I’m not sure if they do those these days anymore, but we had the allied health profession, OTs and PTs present, and it was there where I just felt the passion to empower through intimate relationships, but also to help people get back to doing the things that they find most meaningful in life. And so my mom was my original inspiration and her modeling of perseverance and resilience with a disability that encouraged me to step into the allied health profession as a physical therapist. That’s where my passion first started. 

Tanner Welsch 01:50

I love that very legitimate background story. Yeah, what is the story behind it? Maybe the first sense of awareness that things weren’t quite right in the traditional rehab after-school setting. 

Susie Gronski 02:03

It wasn’t too far after I went into corporate roles, I would say I started my high practice in the acute care setting and then the inpatient rehab setting as a physical therapist and in those settings, although very rewarding to work with individuals of all backgrounds, bodies, conditions, issues and functionalities the institutionalized framework and the structure in which I had to operate under was just not sustainable, not just for me as a professional but heads with my values, values of partnership and collaboration with the patient. There were examples where techs and higher-ups in the institution were forcing us really to see patients even though they were perhaps, maybe not appropriate for intensive rehab first, and then who denied, just really didn’t want to participate in therapy. At that time there was no autonomy for people. They didn’t have a choice, they just had to do what they were told. So it was very structured to focus on productivity. 


I would say Productivity numbers making money, and I get it from a business perspective that those are important pieces for sustainability. And also I think there’s a better way to do that while still respecting the autonomy of individuals and their preferences and also appropriateness for a level of therapy that’s very intensive for what they’re in for. So I started to really pick up on the fact that there was a huge hierarchical model here that was really emphasizing a for-profit mentality, and that’s really not what I went to school for, that’s not where my passions were and it really struck a chord with my values. 

Tanner Welsch 03:59

I love the word choices there that you use to just explain it beautifully. It really sounds like you couldn’t be the clinician that you wanted to be, or you thought you were going to be able to be. 

Susie Gronski 04:08

Right, absolutely. 

Tanner Welsch 04:10

But what was the specific moment you realized this really wasn’t this traditional path and this model that you’re working in really wasn’t for you? Was there a defining moment that you were yet the straw that broke the camel’s back and you knew that you were leaving after that? 

Susie Gronski 04:24

Yeah, I bounce around a lot. That’s where it led to me opening up my own practice and going into urological care. But backtrack, I had to really quote kiss a lot of frogs and I did. I did. I was in inpatient rehab for about a year, did some PR and worked there. Then I went into geriatric care, and vestibular care for private practice. That wasn’t really working for me. So then I went on to orthopedics for a very short amount of time Because the model of care again, it was all about seeing more people, less engagement, an astronomical amount of paperwork and responsibility. 


But it was really like a mill-type setting and I hate to use that, but it is really what it felt like, like a conveyor belt. Just see, these people have three people on your schedule and I said I can’t do that. How can I build intimate relationships, establish a therapeutic container to really build trust with this person, to help with their recovery, to build resilience, coping skills, et cetera? I can’t be the clinician that I want to be and I wouldn’t want to be treated like that. As well as as a patient, I don’t see that as patient-centered care, patient-first care. 


So I quickly went from niche practice to niche practice, trying to search for what it was that was really at my heart, and ultimately I came to the confusion after doing just PRN work, after I tried the full-time nine-to-five gig and all that, and it just wasn’t working for me. And I also like flexibility in my life. I really value being able to take breaks when I need to control my schedule a little bit more so that I can be the best clinician for people and show up in the way that I want to show up, with capacity in my tank, with some work, yeah. So in order for me to do that, I then stepped to the PRN rule and worked for a day rehab facility, and at that point I was already dabbling in pelvic therapy. So then I went on to establish a program as a PRN therapist because they didn’t have that in this outpatient facility, which was a hospital institution that had an offsite clinic in another location, but it was there that I started the pelvic health program and then branched off. 


While I was doing that can I even say that I was working on my business on the side. But you know, I mean that’s reality. You still have to make money, you still have to pay the bills and, as a new work grad at the time, I mean student loans are real and they are a limiting factor for a lot of things and, I think, really inhibit people from pursuing their dreams because they feel really stuck in a particular model and so forth. So I was blessed and I had the privilege to do the PRN work, pay my bills and pursue an independent practice, and that’s what I did. 

Tanner Welsch 07:19

Perfect preach. Everything that you’re saying is I hear it over and over again, with people who have laughed or wanted to leave. It’s just the same. It’s like a broken record. So what would you say was at stake if you didn’t make this transition? 

Susie Gronski 07:34

That’s a really good question. What would be at stake? I honestly believe it is my internal set of values of treating people with respect, compassion, fostering healthy notions around building resilience, not feeling that I have to be under pressure or treat an individual like a diagnosis or a number. It just wasn’t in me. I really wanted to have the freedom to be able to offer care that I wanted to receive. That’s the thing I want to receive that. 


And I have been a patient in traditional medical models in physical therapy. I’ve been a physical therapy patient before. I’ve been a neurological patient before. I’ve been a urological gynecological patient before and really it is not feeling I’m treated just like another number or someone’s bank account and while I do respect that and I know that’s part of establishing a business and model of care but there are ways to treat an individual with compassion, with respect, giving them time, listening and genuinely being part of that therapeutic container and caring. I mean, essentially you really want to feel cared for. I just could not in those traditional models with restrictions and limitations and productivity requirements. I could not thrive as a human being, let alone a professional who wanted to touch people’s minds and hearts. 

Tanner Welsch 09:06

Yeah, your values and your autonomy was being compromised completely. What made you decide to go your own practice route, specifically in this pelvic floor urological PT sex counselor decision? 

Susie Gronski 09:20

I was really inspired to just drop it all. Really, my husband inspired me, because it was he came up with this true story. We just bought a house. It was maybe six months where we had this new house, obviously more bills. He was working he’s a BMW buff, car guy mechanic. He was working as a service advisor for Audi at the time. He just quit. Yeah, I can’t do it. They were also under scrutiny of surveys and selling and all that. And he comes home one night and he’s I quit, I’m just not doing it anymore. And started to work on cars from our garage. I was so inspired I said well, if you could do it, I could do it. And I kid you not, it was a week later. Well, yeah, I’m going to start my own practice too. 


So here we are with the new mortgage diving into our own businesses at the same time, and we did it. I mean we really did it. And it’s not we had a ton saved or that we had, you know, a ton of help from our family members. It’s just we really were really fiscally conscious of if we’re going to do this, we have to really cut out a lot of other things and work hard at making this happen and it did evolve. So I have to give credit to my husband who inspired me to take the leap, to jump, and to say, if not now, when right? So I found a practice. I found a space close by to my home and in the beginning I had to take a little small business loan really to renovate the space because you wanted it to be a certain way, especially for urological pelvic care. Those are very personal and sensitive topics, so you want to make sure the environment is welcoming and embracing and all that. So that’s how it started and what I was really ultimately inspired to finally take the leap. 

Tanner Welsch 11:00

For sure, I love that team where your partner and companion you guys went through something together. That sounds really awesome. 

Susie Gronski 11:08

Yeah, thank you. 

Tanner Welsch 11:09

You mentioned that you guys had to cut out a lot of other things. Could you elaborate a little bit about that and what you mean? 

Susie Gronski 11:17

So cooking at home more than eating out, not having cable TV, cutting out anywhere. We can trim the fat, so to speak. Putting vacations on whole, just things like that where a lot of money can go really easily, or cutting back on arbitrary spending that really wasn’t necessary and that really helped quite a bit. But also, you know, what I think is really important is the mindset. It’s not a scarcity mindset, but more of this planting the seed and being persistent and consistent and having faith that it’s all going to work out the way it should. And that’s not to say that that doesn’t come with its own challenges or tears or discouragement, because that does show up even now, but it’s that sticking with it and knowing that it’s a snowball effect. 


So in the beginning it’s really hard and I think it’s getting your head, your mindset and your attitude around being a business entrepreneur. It’s a completely different mindset and I think that was the key there too. And having support. So if you don’t have a partner or a spouse or any communities of support, right, mentoring business masterminds, mentorship groups that’s very important. That’s something I wish I did have when I was starting my business is having a business, mentoring, which I didn’t. So a lot of the trial and error and fumbling through was just taking the risk to see how it pans out and then making adjustments as you go along. Nothing is permanent. Just try, just try, because you have no idea where that might lead and what other opportunities might present themselves to you. 

Tanner Welsch 12:52

For sure. Yeah, I completely agree. We actually had an episode on episode 21 where we talk about scarcity mindset and abundant mindset, and this is something you have to adopt if you’re going to be a business owner or entrepreneur, and it’s about having autonomy over your life and your schedule and creating this lifestyle of freedom, or lifestyle by design, if you will. So for sure. What would you say were the first signs of traction with this private practice that you were building? 

Susie Gronski 13:20

Honestly, I think it was not too far off after I built it. They will come, so to speak, once you planted the seed and you’ve mentioned it in the universe. It really did. It was just people found you. However they found you, they did I used throughout my evolution of my practice. 


I’ve tried all sorts of things for marketing and I can’t remember what the reason was in the beginning. But as a physical therapist I refused to do the traditional physician marketing. In the beginning of my practice, I said I’m not going to be that person that’s going to do in-service and beg medical doctors to give me referrals. I’m not doing that. What I’m doing is I’m going to reach out to the community. I’m going to reach out and educate the community and stand out as a primary care provider. 


I am a neurological physical therapist. We are all about health promotion, education, function pooping, peeing insects or vital physiological functions of everyone’s life, and so I use that to say I’m going to establish a presence within the community and empower individuals to get care for their pelvic and sexual health needs. So that’s where I took a different framework, where I grew up around. You have to market to doctors. You market to doctors. That’s where your referrals are. That’s what was being planted even in PT school. No, I decided, I said I’m not doing that. I said that doesn’t work, I’m not here to prove myself to anyone. And as the profession itself was changing to be more direct access, I really rode that wave to establish a presence and a voice and advocate really for people, because I do feel that the best health is when you know your own body, when you know where to get help, ask for help, how to ask for help, and that you have options. 

Tanner Welsch 15:11

For sure. I hear that over and over again too. For individuals that open up their own practice, the best referral model that they have and continue to have is from previous or current clients, because the quality of work that you do will show itself and we’ll end up prevailing throughout the community and word of mouth goes around and, yeah, what would you say are the practical, maybe non-obvious, skills that make you a great fit for your work now. 

Susie Gronski 15:39

Practical skills, communication skills around difficult conversations. In my practice as a neurological physical therapist, we talk about pooping, peeing and sex. Those are things that are not comfortable for anyone to talk about. It’s taboo, it’s stigmatized, and as a physical therapist we didn’t have that training of how do you do sexual health intake, how do you ask questions around sex or bladder or bowel function that pertain to someone’s activities of daily living, function and meaning, right. So one of those might be masturbation. I should know just saying the word masturbation, or erection or ejaculation or orgasm. That doesn’t just roll off the tongue so easily. 


So it’s those skills of communication, being able to offer a comprehensive medical and sexual health intake and with that comes listening, active listening skills, being in tune, genuine receptive in a session, and how to regulate your own feelings that come up within the therapeutic session. That’s, we don’t talk about feelings. I think that’s what’s the biggest skill that I have cultivated and acquired for my years of being in the field is how do you navigate your own difficult feelings and emotions in a therapeutic space. How do you navigate when your patient has feelings of anger or shame or grief and loss? Those are skills that are not taught within the curriculum, at least when I went to school, they weren’t. They might be different now, but those are the skills that I think are really imperative and crucial if we want to be working with people. 

Tanner Welsch 17:24

For sure. Also add that the traditional model really does not allow time for that processing any of that or extra time to get through some of those feelings and stuff. I definitely see what you mean. 

Susie Gronski 17:37

Yeah, which is another perk of being in private practice, I can have two hours for my initial evaluation. 

Tanner Welsch 17:43

Yeah, what would you say is obvious to you now that maybe you struggled to see in the moment from when you were in the traditional roles as a physical therapist? 

Susie Gronski 17:54

The younger PT, the younger me PT thought that I was not good enough as a clinician from the perspective of I need to take direction from someone else, whether that’s physician telling me on their script. You have to stay it. You have to stay with the script. Just do what everyone else does. Don’t question, don’t think about it Even from the perspective of critical thinking, of questioning what we’re being taught, from assessment to treatment, because in school I mean certain you’re getting a foundational framework, but questioning the framework. Is this always true? Is this really sounded in science? Is this biologically sensible? When I’m doing an assessment or I’m doing treatment, am I just doing it because someone showed it to me and this is what I learned? But not questioning Do we have to do it this way? Can we steer away from that? Who’s to say that? 


I think is the biggest thing that I struggled with, because I didn’t know any other way until I started to really branch out into my own practice and started to evolve my own model of care that then evolved into this. I can actually be super creative in my sessions. I can add music. I can use all sensory experiences, from lighting to heated tables, to sense, to just having play-doh and arts and crafts with my patients so that we can actually make sense and storyboard if they’re in pain. Let’s make sense of your experience. How do you express yourself? Let’s do that together. Let’s sit on the floor. Those are the things that I think. When I was a younger PT, I stuck to a script. I stuck to this is what I was told, and you can’t do anything. You’ve got to do the whole range of motion strength in this order Check this, check that. And it’s really not like that in real life. It’s really not like that. 


And the more confidence that I gained in myself as a person and gained confidence in my skill and my ability to be more humanistic with people and allow for trial and error and to just allow for that creative process and exploration to occur, that’s when my practice evolved to so many opportunities to help people. It wasn’t just one way or one manual therapy, move, you know still or exercise that helps them. I really, truly believe it’s the relationship that you establish with your patient that makes the difference, that helps them with the recovery. We’re not here to fix people. We’re not, I’m not the fixer. And that’s what PT’s. We fix, we mobilize, but all their stuff is what really matters, or at least is going to enhance and support and help that person thrive, to empower them to not need you anymore. 

Tanner Welsch 20:47

For sure, that was perfect. What do you love most about your new reality? 

Susie Gronski 20:52

I can be my own boss. I can be my own boss. I know that everyone says that, but I can take time off when I need to. And this isn’t, you know, being your own boss isn’t all that glamorous, let me just tell you that. So if everyone out there, whoever’s, thinking about it, oh yeah, it’s gonna be so easy no, it’s not. You’re essentially working all the time because you’re the admin person, at least for me. For the longest time I was doing everything. I was the biller, I was the one invoicing, I was the one marketing, I was the one being the clinician. I mean, you did everything. And the best advice I can give folks is, right away from the beginning, support yourself with ancillary staff. Have someone to communicate with patients, have a patient coordinator, a client coordinator. That just freed up so much more of my time. Do the things that you don’t wanna be doing or that you’re spending most time doing, and hand that over delegate, delegate as much as possible. 


And the other thing that I love about being, you know, my own boss is that I essentially could cultivate an interdisciplinary, multi-disciplinary practice model as a physical therapist. You know, one would think, oh, if I’m a physical therapist and I’m in private practice. I just have to do physical therapy Well from one point of view, yes, you know, stay within the purview of your scope of practice and your training, and you don’t have to be everything for everyone. And if you’re looking to support your patients holistically, comprehensively, why not bring out people who do it better than you? Nutrition therapy, mental health therapy, occupational therapy, sex counseling you know all those providers, you know those practitioners, a diverse team to support your patient in a model of care. Why not? Why can’t physical therapists do that? 

Tanner Welsch 22:34

For sure. Yeah, now, I completely agree. It’s once you get outside of this framework of the traditional model and the economy and the jobs that are set out there for us to traditionally do, the creative aspect of what we want to do and where we want to go is pretty much sky’s the limit. I love it. I think I really wish it was more mainstream, or even Todd and schools, and this is a real avenue that we can do, because it’s pretty clear the traditional avenue is just broken and they just care about the bottom line. I mean, it’s so common that that’s why the majority of people are leaving. So what is something that comes to mind that was a real pain point, a real challenge, a real struggle from you know when you started this solo venture to where you are now and how did you overcome it. What comes to mind? What do you feel like sharing? 

Susie Gronski 23:24

That’s a big question. I have two things that come to mind. First, we’ll start with the growth. There are growing pains when you’re trying to expand your practice as a solopreneur, which is how I started. It was just me. 


Things were okay and sustainable for some time, but then there came a tipping point of I can’t do this alone, and that was a struggle of how do I make this work? How do I work on my business versus in my business? Because those are two different things. If my passion is to connect with people, educate people, partner with people, collaborate, help them with their pelvic and sexual wellness, I can’t do it all and I’m not gonna be here forever. How do I continue this at a sustainable level? And so that’s where I started to really brainstorm. I gotta get help, I have to hire on another therapist, I can be a mentor, and so I found myself being in the mentoring space quite a bit. From that, that, that brainstorming, the opportunity, from that challenge and opportunity arose the opportunity to create a course I now teach a course called sexual pain navigating care for cisgendered men. That allows me to multiply, to help other people do the work. I don’t just have to be the person and feel I have to be the only expert in this field. Actually, I can help others do the same. And it was so much more rewarding rather than so focused inward. I gotta do it. It’s me all, this pressure on my shoulders. No, expand, grow your wings, have other people feel inspired, because you’re modeling something. You’re modeling what it’s like to be a female-identified practitioner working with pelvises who have penises, and that is something unheard of. What a wonderful exemplar to be for others and to help others also do the same with confidence. So, from a challenge, group opportunities. So that’s one, I think, pain point that I’ll say is that the growing pains of when you start to feel the rumble inside that’s trying to make a shift and to say how can I make this bigger, bigger than me. And the second one is very personal. I will share it. I think it’s worth sharing. It’s very personal from the perspective of boundaries. This is boundary work Boundaries as a female provider working in a predominantly male space, and boundaries are really important to cultivate. 


What is the engagement of this therapeutic process? What or how do you want people, how do you want to work with people and how do you want them to work with you? Back and clarity around your boundaries are very important. So I had to do a lot of my own work around what are my boundaries within this work and in this field and I don’t mean to say as a female provider and male patients, because this is with any gender and any provider really, but generally in a female-centric, gyno-centric profession that pelvic health therapy is. 


It really did stem from women’s health and women’s therapy and it wasn’t until, and it’s still lagging behind, a significant care gap for men for pelvic and sexual healthcare, especially in pelvic health spaces. So when I stepped into that space, there certainly are social-cultural challenges, right, that one has to acknowledge but also not be afraid of. And I think that’s where I found my really grew my voice and felt empowered to work with boundaries. You know, as a female person, here are my boundaries. This is how I work. Let’s be clear, not being afraid, circling back to difficult conversations, to have difficult conversations, to name whatever needs to be named. Move forward, work through that with or without your patient Again, not to be afraid of that. So I think boundary work and clarity around how you want to engage in your practice as a professional, but also as a business owner, is really important to get clarity around, and that just comes with practice and that just comes from doing the work and it evolves over time, always, we’re always changing. 

Tanner Welsch 27:25

I love that and I think, especially in your setting, that’s super vital. Just address right at the beginning, because what you’re working with and talking about is very sensitive and just very taboo and I never thought about that, but it totally makes sense what you’re talking about. A couple of things I wanted to follow back up on was about your pain points with, you know, starting your own business, your own practice. One of the things that you pointed out was really, if you’re gonna grow something, eventually you’re gonna have to figure out a scale it and I think there comes a point with every entrepreneur or business owner that’s growing is this urge and this feeling of holding on very tightly to what it is you’re creating and not wanting to let go of some of it and delegate to other people because of how much you really care and how much you really value what you’re doing. And it’s just this little baby that you’re growing and it’s hard to let somebody else care for that. And it’s a struggle. Finding the right people to work with. It’s definitely a challenge, but that is a struggle too that I have gone through with rehab rebels, you know, finding the right podcast manager that fits. I mean, I’m on my fourth one and she is awesome. 


So, yeah for sure, completely relate to that, and I really liked your realization that you’re not gonna be around forever. We’re not gonna be here forever, and it’s what are we building? What are we creating? What are we leaving behind? How are we making a positive impact? And immediately I thought also about generational wealth, something to pass on down to our kids. And, funny enough, I’m actually gonna update the website to where the blog tab. I’m gonna move some financial, personal finance things over to the website where you can just click the blog and read some articles I have, and one of them is about generational wealth and that’s, I think, a perk about creating something that’s a business that you can pass down or sell or whatever you wanna do, but it’s something that you can offer and leave your children or family. That is outside of the traditional model of the 401k, and I think it’s empowering, I think it’s super cool. 

Susie Gronski 29:25

It totally is great, and I unfortunately can’t speak to the children part, but I don’t have any children. However, I have a global community, so I think maybe I can extend that to everyone in the community and all the people who are getting into this profession to feel inspired. To feel inspired to do this work and maybe find other opportunities and creativity within that space. So I totally hear you, and who knows, my nephew and niece might watch, you know, watch some of this and are being you inspired and that’s cool too, right? So, yeah, you should never know. Yeah, thinking bigger, and it’s okay to think bigger really, because all things start in the mind, right? Even a building, the idea has to come from an architect’s mind and an idea and thinking about it before it goes on paper and then before it actually gets built. Right, it all starts with the idea and I think if we just just name it and throw it out in there in the universe, you’d be surprised how it just naturally will end up being your reality one day. It’s quite powerful. 

Tanner Welsch 30:29

I love that a little bit of the woo-woo, totally love talking about this stuff because it goes back to at least the bare minimum of a mindset Basically what you believe in your mind and what you’re telling yourself is the reality that you live in, and that can be a positive thing or that can be a negative thing, and I think it’s really empowering. 


Affirmations, mindset, mindfulness, acceptance, appreciation, love. There’s just a bunch of things that unfortunately are not included in any streamlined education system and pretty much we’re just out here living out life, fumbling around, trying to figure it all out, and these are some big concepts that have really helped me and, I feel, a lot of other people, to create these lifestyles that are just very empowering, very autonomous and very freeing. What would you share with others who maybe have an itch, or they think they want to start a practice, or they’re at that edge. They know that the traditional model is not working and maybe they’re bouncing between do I create my own practice using the license and the skill sets that I have, or should I do something different? What would you advise them or what advice would you have for them? 

Susie Gronski 31:41

The first thing that comes to my mind is just try, just try. It doesn’t have to be complex. If you’re starting your own practice, you can rent a space from a sub lease in an office perhaps I am or from a partner in a space that might have a referral source. So like a gym. I know what local therapists in town who collaborated with a strength and conditioning gym here in town and now she has her own business, her own practice, and she’s the main PT and she’s got a referral source right there. Right there, be creative and really just try. You won’t lose anything other than maybe time and maybe some financial stake as well. But keep it simple. That’s what I tell people. I would say just keep it really simple and just try, just try. You don’t know what it would be or where it could go if you don’t even try. 


At some point you do have to jump. There’s an exercise in acceptance, commitment therapy world where you tell people to okay, let’s just find a chair and let’s stand on the chair. I have them stand up on a chair and I say, okay, I want you to plan to jump, just plan to jump. They look at me like how do I plan to jump. I mean, you either jump or you don’t. That’s the answer that you get. That’s the whole point. You got to jump At some point, you just got to do it. You can’t overthink it. I get it, certainly have an outline and have some structure. But there comes a point where you do have to jump and there’s just no more planning, that planning, that incessant planning and need to have everything perfect and everything in the row, et cetera. That’s the limitation that we set for ourselves, that’s the barrier, that’s the inflexibility around the experience that you’re about to embark on. It’s an experience. Think of it as fun, think about side hobby, do something PRN, if you need the income. There’s so many ways about it and I think, instead of getting discouraged and withdrawal and hanging it up, I would say use the adversity and transform it. Transform adversity into your vision. 

Tanner Welsch 33:50

For sure. Some bullet points here. For sure. Analysis Don’t let analysis be paralysis for you. Love the start, basic and simple. I would frame it in the mindset of a couple things here. Do you want to be laying on your deathbed thinking back? What if Another thing is? What you’re really doing is investing in yourself and in your future in a non-traditional way. Even if it doesn’t work out, you have the mindset and you actually give into this and do this. I’m going to say 99% odds are you’re going to get something out of it that’s going to likely get you to where you really want to go anyway. It’s just this huge scary jumping and it’s I love the chair model. I never heard of that, but I love the chair model. 

Susie Gronski 34:36

The great exercise or go skydiving. If you’re in the front and you’ve got your skydiving partner strapped you in the back, there’s no backing out. Whether you want it or not, you’re going to go. That was my experience. No, not ready, I’m not doing this. Nope, we’re jumping. I’m just going to be messy. 


My saliva was all over this poor guy’s face. I tried to catch my breath because it was awful he was. I really did have a lot of your spit on my face Once it was over and you actually really catch your breath. It was awesome because then you’re like I can actually just float here and glide. I did it. I wouldn’t be able to have this experience if I didn’t have the one previously. So it’s pretty awesome and I think if we really do what you need to do to support yourself throughout that process, you don’t have to do it alone. But maybe sometimes we do need to have our skydiving partner strapped to us and say you’re going to do it whether you like it or not. And I think that was circling back to my husband. He was my skydiving partner. He said I’m doing this, I’m jumping. 

Tanner Welsch 35:35

The closest thing that I’ve been able to relate it to is this clearly applies to a lot of things. We’ve already talked about the chair. We’ve talked about skydiving, but it’s driving a car. Everybody has to learn how, and you can only read the book so much and you can only get so far before you actually have to start doing it. And, as we all know, when you actually start doing it, that’s when you really learn what it’s like. I could completely relate to that statement. When it’s being in physical therapy school and learning versus okay, you’re no longer in physical therapy school and you’re a physical therapist now Huge, huge difference and it’s okay, I’m actually getting the experience that I need to actually learn how to do this, and there’s no other substitution for experience, for sure. 

Susie Gronski 36:16

No, no, the training wheels go off and now you can do all sorts of BMX tricks. 

Tanner Welsch 36:22

Well, Susie, it’s really been a pleasure having you on the show. Thank you so much for taking time and sharing your journey and your story with us. 

Susie Gronski 36:29

Thank you so much for having me. 

Tanner Welsch 36:31


Outro 36:31

Thank you for listening to the Rehab Rebels podcast. If this podcast was useful, make sure to hit that subscribe button and leave a review. For more information about transitioning to alternative careers, head to or follow us on Instagram at Rehab Rebels podcast. We’ll see you next time. 

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