If you’re looking for a physical therapist that exudes warmth and positivity, plus makes every visit feel like time spent with a close friend, Lauren Mueller is the therapist for you. Lauren was nominated as our August Physical Therapist of the Month, so we sat down with her at our Biltmore location to learn more about her favorite parts of physical therapy and what she does in her free time.
“I always knew I wanted to be in healthcare,” Lauren says when I ask her what brought her into physical therapy. She explains she shadowed many healthcare professionals — surgeons, doctors, and nurses — in addition to physical therapists before deciding on the field.
Physical therapy won her over because of the opportunities to build relationships with patients. As a physical therapist, she can see patients consistently and work towards goals together. She gives me a laugh when she compares the relationships doctors and surgeons have with patients that usually only last five to ten minutes per visit or while the patients are asleep.
Lauren attended the University of Arizona for her undergraduate and obtained her doctorate in physical therapy at Northern Arizona University’s downtown Phoenix location. She joined our staff in May of 2017.
Lauren spends her days building relationships. “I really love working with people, whether they’re patients or coworkers. You can chat with people and learn about their lives,” Lauren says.
A population Lauren finds particularly rewarding to work with is geriatrics.
“I have a passion for geriatric patients. I like to see a lot of the elderly, 75 and above patients,” Lauren says. She explains that she “fell in love” with this group after working at a senior living facility.
When I ask her about the most meaningful moments she’s had in her career, she tells me they are the times that make her feel like she’s making a difference in her patients’ lives.
When one of her patients developed a mistrust of the medical industry due to negative experiences with doctors and surgeons, Lauren was able to transform their opinion and make a difference in that patient’s life. “I feel like I’ve been really able to help as a good peer and medical professional to advice. I have talked her through things and offered level-headed guidance,” says Lauren.
She also tells me about patients that have told her that she’s changed their lives. She explains how some patients thank her for working with them and giving them the renewed courage to enter into the real world and no longer feel like they’re going to fall when walking down — something that many of us take for granted every day.
When Lauren isn’t at the clinic, you can find her exercising, spending time with friends and family, traveling, volunteering with the University of Arizona alumni group, and trying new restaurants in town.
“I love to exercise, usually Pilates, hot yoga, spin — my boyfriend teases and says they’re the diva exercises,” says Lauren. Lauren loves to travel and see new cities. She recently returned from trips to Cabo and San Diego and plans to visit Denver soon.
Locally, you can often find her enjoying the fare at The Gladly. Next time you visit she strongly recommends ordering the brown butter tuna.
She also loves to read — a big Harry Potter fan —, watch television shows like Suits, The Blacklist, and the first few seasons of Scandal, and enjoys stand-up comedy. One more thing to know? She’s a big Taylor Swift fan. “I love Taylor Swift. I went to her recent concert and it was amazing,” she says.
I leave my conversation with Lauren like I just caught up with a friend; my cheeks are a bit sore from grinning from laughing. There is one thing she says that sticks with me long after the conversation ends. When she talks about being a therapist she says, “our job is just helping people, it’s pretty great.”
We think that sums up Lauren’s attitude as a physical therapist quite nicely. If you’re looking for a physical therapist in the Biltmore area, schedule an appointment with Lauren. You’ll feel like you’re visiting with a friend each visit and even get some travel and local restaurant recommendations.
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