You know those people that lift your spirits when you’re with them? The people that build you up and make you feel like you can take on the world? Brooke Dolberg, a physical therapist(PT) at our Old Town Scottsdale physical therapy clinic, is one of those people.
Brooke is a cheerleader, a people person. She strives to set her patients up for success, beyond their appointments with her. And, she’s this month’s PT of the Month.
We chatted with Brooke to learn more about her and her career journey, what she’s learned along the way, and even what she likes to do during her spare time.
Brooke was introduced to physical therapy after a car accident when she was 15. “It was the only thing that helped,” Brooke says. She explains that she was attracted to the field because of the ability to build a relationship with patients, especially compared to other healthcare professions that only see their patients “once or twice a year.”
Brooke has been with the Foothills Sports Medicine teams since 2011. After she finished her PT schooling at Northern Arizona University’s Flagstaff campus, she started serving as a physical therapist on our team in 2013.
When I ask her about her favorite part of her job she quickly says, “being surrounded by people all day long, the patients and coworkers.”
She is a self-proclaimed “people person,” so it comes as no surprise when she says the most meaningful experiences she’s had in her career involve seeing the transformation that can happen in her patients.
“It would have to be the certain patients, that are super depressed and down on themselves, as they start to get better they become a different person,” Brooke says.
She tells me about one patient, who she saw a great transformation. “Initially he didn’t make eye contact with me. He lost 70 pounds working with me. He started eating healthy and now he is a completely different person,” she says. Brooke tells me that these patients inspire her and “make all the rough times worth it.”
Brooke tells me “compliance,” or getting patients to follow their exercise programs, is the most difficult part of her job. Compared with physical therapists that ask for their patients to perform exercises for 30 minutes each day, “most doctors only say to take a pill once a day. It’s getting that buy-in,” she says.
To help her patients, she tells me that she tries to be their cheerleader and empower them. Brooke even gives patients her work email address and tells them to reach out with questions. This practice has led to her keeping in contact with patients she had years prior; she gets at least one email a week from a former patient.
When I ask her about future goals, her answer, again, revolves around people. She tells me how to she wants to “become more established in the community, meeting with doctors and different clinics.” She explains, “I like it when I can say ‘oh I had lunch with your doctor last week.’ It has been a great opportunity to see what they [her patients] see when they come to me and their doctors and bridge the gap.”
When I ask Brooke about what keeps her busy outside of work, she simply says, “food, family, football,” and laughs.
As a Phoenix Valley native — she grew up in Scottsdale — the Arizona Cardinals is her team, “I’ve had a season ticket for the past 10 years,” she says. She and a group of her friends even go to an away game every year.
As far as food goes, her favorite local restaurant is Si Señor, where she gets the red chile pork and the secret white sauce.
Additionally, Brooke is often reciting quotes from comedies — like “Mean Girls,” “Dumb and Dumber,” and “Wedding Crashers” — and working out, “I have to be able to do what I tell them [my patients] to do,” she says.
Brooke finishes our conversation by looping back to her patients. “I’m a people person. You can hear my laugh through the walls, into the parking lot … It’s contagious and I’m okay with that. Lots of times when people are here they aren’t happy, they’re on pain meds or just had a surgery … I just want to get a smile on their face.”
If you’re searching for a physical therapist that has a real passion for her clients and a contagious laugh, request an appointment with Brooke Dolberg at our Old Town Scottsdale clinic.