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‘Building for the family’
by Garrett Valenzuela
Jan 16, 2013 | 6288 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Monica Moreland
Monica Moreland
SPARKS — As a physical therapist, Monica Moreland never knows what sort of stories she is going to hear during her 10- or 12-hour shifts. What begins as harmless conversation between a therapist and patient could eventually turn into a compelling dinner-table cliffhanger.

“It is a job you feed on and it gives you back what you put out there,” Moreland said Tuesday inside the Physical Therapy and Sports Rehabilitation Center in Sparks. “You sit around the dinner table and you want to tell these great stories you heard throughout the day.”

Moreland said her latest dinner-table story featured a middle-aged man who came to her after having his leg amputated. The man said while running from a swarm of bees he tripped and broke his leg and, upon arriving at the hospital, discovered his leg was infected with a previously undetected cancer. Moreland said she thought to herself “‘how many times do you hear this story?’”

“The coolest part is being able to help people, but you never know when something they are telling you is helping you without realizing it,” Moreland said of her occupation. “Obviously we are here to give them a service, but what they are giving us are these stories and heartfelt lessons that you wouldn’t expect.”

Moreland and her husband, Rob, have owned and operated the Physical Therapy and Sports Rehabilitation Center since 2003 and Monica has worked as a physical therapist at the clinic since 1998. Before coming into ownership of the Sparks business, Monica, who grew up in Las Vegas and attended college in Los Angeles, Calif., said she proved to be a reliable physical therapist to former owner Pam Hogan.

“Even though she was the owner, I was always there to greet anyone who walked in the door or if one of her patients was waiting I would help them out,” Monica said. “She saw that and said ‘you act like this is your place’ and so it was kind of a natural thing for me. I am one of 11 children so the house was really busy and maybe that helped out. I was doing it before I bought it. That part was not a difficult transition at all.”

With one child currently in college, another attending Spanish Spring High School and two more at Spanish Springs Elementary, Monica said she works long hours from the office while Rob keeps busy at home with the billing side of the business. As her oldest daughter prepares to enter the field of physical therapy as well, Monica said the potential for it to become a family business looks very possible.

“(The clinic) is also my family and is my second home so motivation comes from working for myself and building something for myself and my family and now, potentially, I am building something for my kids,” she said. “It is our livelihood but it is also so gratifying because we are doing such positive things here and making people’s lives high quality. When I come to work, I get motivated because it is such a positive outcome.”

Monica said the Sparks facility, and the one located inside South Reno Athletic Club, caters to patients dealing with an array of injuries or ailments including back and spine aches, recovery from surgery or stroke, Multiple Sclerosis and athletes of any age. She said a given day will see plenty of high school students mixed with middle-aged and senior patients looking for some pain relief. She said the variety of patients adds to the fun of treating each one.

“Usually working with athletes and high school kids who come in is fun, but sometimes it is nice to have a geriatric patient who can tell you stories,” she said. “It is really cool to see them really intermix around here. It is really neat to see that mixture and interaction.”

Monica said she has heard various comparisons between her clinic and other clinics around the Reno-Sparks area and said her place operates on a much more ‘Cheers’ atmosphere than most places.

“A lot of things I hear about our place and why it is different for patients who have been to another place is they say they get such individual treatment here and one-on-one treatment,” she said. “When they walk in the door everybody knows them by name. It is more of a family atmosphere around here. We have had one person call who couldn’t make it in for an appointment and we just went to pick her up. It is so nice not having to work for a bureaucratic corporation.”

Monica said the most important thing she brings to her clinic each day is the ability to “educate the patient.” She said through the flurry of injuries and recoveries she tries to get her patients to leave with more knowledge than when they entered.

“The biggest thing for us is educating the patient so that we can teach them how to take care of themselves and prevent injuries in the future,” she said. “We are able to show them models and work with them to understand why we want them to do a certain exercise.”
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