310 Sansome Street
P.O. Box 729
Philipsburg, MT 59858
(406) 859-3271

She Helps Her Patients Physically

Michael Stafford, Philipsburg Mail, June 1, 2011

Peggy Jensen first became interested in her career when she was injured. She had incurred a shoulder injury and then an ACL reconstruction.

"I became interested in physical therapy when I was a physical therapy patient," said Jensen, "I decided it was a pretty neat profession where you help people."

Jensen is the physical therapist at Granite County Medical Center. She explained that she had been working as a ski instructor when she learned about physical therapy and decided to return to school to obtain a degree in it. She attended the University of Montana’s Physical Therapy program where she graduated in 1996 and also met her husband who also is a physical therapist.

Jensen worked a number of years in her new physical therapy career in Anaconda and covered a maturity leave for the former physical therapist, Nancy Toole in Philipsburg. Then one day Jensen received a call from her and an offer.

"When she was going to retire she called me and asked me if I'd like working in Philipsburg and I said yes," recalled Jensen.

That was in 2003. A few things have changed in the physical therapy department as well as at the hospital over the past eight years. According to Jensen the program has become busier and as a result her original 20 hours a week position has increased to 32 hours a week.

"There's been a lot of change in the hospital staff over the years, but in spite of all the changes I've always loved my job here," she said.

Jensen said that physical therapy is basically helping people return to the functions they had prior to an injury or other incident. She said that typically after a patient sees a physician or provider that caregiver may prescribe the therapy and recommends them to Jensen.

"We just help people return to the activity they want to return to," she said.

The equipment in the physical therapy room hasn’t changed much since she arrived Jensen noted. She said that there have been some items added or replaced, such as the bicycle machine, but for the most part things have remained the same.

"Not a lot has changed equipment-wise," she noted.

She said that she has worked with patients who are recovering from sports injuries, work related injuries, and other incidents helping them regain the physical abilities that have been impaired.

"Since I'm the only physical therapist in Granite County I have see everything that walks through the door," she said.

And that's something that Jensen said she likes. She explained that the variation of clientele have come to physical therapy that she has worked with. Some of them have been through the program once, but others return to seek help.

Jensen said that typically there are three ways that a person discontinues physical therapy. The first is that they get better and they don't need the therapy anymore. Sometimes they don’t get better and the treatment doesn’t help. And sometimes a patient's insurance limits the number of times they can attend treatment. Jensen said the last case is not very common.

"I would say typically people have gotten better before we hit that point," she said.

One thing that does remain constant is her care for the patients. She explained that she often forms a relationship with them through their treatment, especially those who return in need of more or a different therapy treatment.

"There are so many patients that I get attached to," she explained, "I feel very blessed and privileged to work with them."

Jensen said that when she has formed a close bond with older patients, their death makes her feel like she has lost a family member, but she said she takes solace in the fact that while she worked with them she helped them with their recovery.

On the other end of the age spectrum she said that she enjoys showing young individuals and youths what she does hoping to interest them in a similar career. She looks forward to such events as the Reach Program as well as Philipsburg Schools' hobby day and job fair.

"I enjoy sharing my profession with young people. It’s a great profession," she said.