Everyone is familiar with the adage “Home is where the heart is.” For Physical Therapist Brandon Smith, this couldn’t be any truer. Originally from Moultrie, Georgia, Smith joined the Vereen Center in August 2016.
Smith attended the University of Georgia for his undergrad degree, which he earned in 2011 before attending Nova Southeastern University, a private research university where he received his doctorate in Physical Therapy. At this point, he and his wife Alexa, who also works at the Vereen Center, were both achieving their own academic – and professional – successes.
“Once I got my doctorate degree at Nova down in Fort Lauderdale, I remained there for about a year and a half, where I worked in an outpatient orthopedic setting,” Smith said. “At that time, my wife graduated with her master’s in Occupational Therapy, and we moved back to Moultrie in August 2016; then, I joined the Vereen Center.”
Smith experienced an injury that led to him needing Physical Therapy when he was younger. That, coupled with having family in that field, influenced him to pursue it as a career as well.
“My sister went into a Physical Therapy Assistant program, and that further opened my eyes into the world of Physical Therapy, at which point I made a commitment to pursue that,” Smith said. “The deeper I got into the curriculum, the more I enjoyed it and just went from there.”
Smith specializes in many different orthopedic cases, from post-surgical patients looking to reestablish their mobility to cervical, lumbar, and neurological patients.
“You really get to see the full gamut of diagnoses at the Vereen Center as well as filling in at Colquitt Regional Medical Center on the inpatient side of things and doing some home health as well,” Smith said.
Smith is an advocate for developing relationships with patients, a quality of the Vereen Center’s staff that is invaluable to both them and their patients. Building rapport and earning trust from the patient is an important aspect of patient-staff relationships, and Smith cuts no corners in this process.
“A patient has to trust you,” Smith said. “They have to buy into what you’re telling them to do. A lot of times when they come to therapy, you know, we put them in an uncomfortable situation to get them get better. They have to trust you; they have to buy into that plan to see it through.”
The staff at Vereen are skilled and strategic in their therapeutic approaches, and Smith is proud of the knowledge shared between the staff and the equipment they have on hand to assist them in helping their patients achieve their goals.
“We have some great tools to maximize our patients’ function and get them better, but the thing that separates this place is our team,” Smith said. “The wealth of knowledge we have amongst therapists, how well we work together, how eager and willing everyone is to help and progress patients really makes all the difference in the world.”
Getting an education in different areas just to come back home to South Georgia is a move that many would not expect most to make professionally. Some people aspire to live in large cities, but Smith has carved out a space for himself in Colquitt County along with his wife, Alexa, and their first child, Bradley, born in March.
“It’s a pleasure to work with Alexa,” Smith said. “We get to discuss challenges as well as cases; we get to talk through things like that, and to have her there to go through that with, to brainstorm with, as well as to watch her grow into a great clinician – it’s really awesome.”
The two are a youth baseball coaching duo in the spring and devoted members of Trinity Baptist Church, so it is easy to see that Smith is a dedicated individual who is just as committed to the health of his patients as he is to giving back to his community. But one thing that is applicable to everyone in Smith’s opinion, regardless of location, is the ease of exercise.
“It seems simple,” he said. “It seems very basic, but that’s a key to longevity and to function. It doesn’t have to be weight lifting, it doesn’t have to be running a marathon, but staying active, moving, doing things you enjoy.”