Interview with Nick Nordvedt, DPT, Cert MDT

I had the pleasure of interviewing Nick Nordvedt, DPT, Cert MDT. Many of you have met him on twitter via @nicktnpt. First, a little background on Nick; then we’ll jump right in to the fun stuff.

Nick graduated from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2007.  He has worked as an outpatient physical therapist focusing on manual therapy in Memphis and Jackson since graduating, and he completed his certification in the McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis & Therapy in 2012.

All of us go through professional growth and evolution. Describe your progression through the years.

I think an insatiable desire to learn and grow professionally has been the backbone to my evolution as a physical therapist.  Being happy with the satus quo is something that has never felt right to me, so I believe this has given me the desire to grow professionally.  The biggest influence on my thinking and treatment of patients has been the mentors I have had over the years.  I have had several mentors emphasizing different aspects of physical therapy along the way: everything from scientific reasoning to patient satisfaction to business, but all leading to a patient centered approach to care.  Providing mentorship to students and new grads is naturally the next part of this process, which again, helps me grow professionally as well.

What hobbies or extra-professional interests have impacted you as a PT? And how?

I am a very motivated person, so I always love treating patients who are motivated to return to function.  I love to run, and I’ve always been interested in sports/sport injuries, so I really enjoy treating patients rehabbing from injury.  While I’ve never had a serious sporting injury, it keeps me grounded talking to patients about how & why they got injured. It can be quite a challenge to treat the non-motivated patient, but the feeling of accomplishment for both the pt and the PT can be quite rewarding.

How do you tackle the non-motivated patient?

Every patient has some sort of motivation.  It is a matter of determining what is important to that patient and helping them achieve these goals.  If they are still in the pre-contemplative phase of whether they will use physical therapy services, you have to do a lot of education of what you can do to help this patient.  Ultimately, it is up to him/her to make that decision, but sometimes the therapist needs to put his beliefs and needs secondary to the potential patient’s.

How is the PT business climate in Tennessee?

The private practice PT business is tough, as I would imagine it to be in any market.  But I believe that hard work will pay off in any market as well.  It is a matter of defining and going after your market (this could be defined as your niche).  The ugly is just how little I think PTs know about how a practice is run from a business perspective.  Even if a PT works for a POPTs, HOPTs, or large corporate practice, I think it is his or her duty to know their personal value.  Basic value of an employee is production/cost (production and the quality of production could be discussed further, but even this basic value is not understood by most employees).

What big ideas/simple ideas/basic concepts do you believe will help all Physical Therapists become better/smarter/wiser?

Critical thinking & listening.  I see too often PTs who want a protocol or a road map for every patient which inherently decreases the PTs critical thinking and clinical decision making.  Simplifying patient care should be something we all strive for (“Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler” – Einstein), but we must remember how complex each individual person is!  Listening (not hearing!) also seems to be a lost art not only in PT, but healthcare in general.  How many more people would get better just from having someone they believe listened to their story?  As Robin McKenzie said, “Everything I know, I learned from my patients.”

Favorite books and/or authors? Any recommendations?

I read To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink earlier in the year. A great book that ll physical therapists should read (he even Mentions PT!). Simple by Alan Siegel & Irene Etzkorn is another great book I read earlier this year. Right now I’m reading Movement by Gray Cook, Lore of Running by Timothy Noakes, and The Hit by David Baldacci.

Give the benefit of hindsight and your accumulated perspective, what’s your advice to new PT graduates?

LEARN and find a mentor. PT students and new grads that I meet are frequently surprised by the vast amount of knowledge still to learn after graduation. We graduate as generalists, but must find our practice niche after graduation. I think the best way to do this is through taking advantage of every learning opportunity available and find a great mentor that shares core practice values with you.

What advice would you give to seasoned PT’s?

Continue to seek and embrace a mentor, but pay it forward.  Share what you’ve learned with anyone willing to listen, PT or non-PT.

What advice would you give to yourself?

I try to give myself the same mentorship advice.  I am always telling people that if I didn’t enjoy doing what I do, I would change.

Do you (or your clinic) offer clinical internships or mentorship opportunities? If so, then how what is the best way to get DPT students in touch with you?

I do accept physical therapist students for clinical internships.  The best way to get in touch with me to set up a contract with a school is to email me at or get in touch with me on Twitter @nicktnpt

Life is an adventure. Describe one of your most memorable adventures so far.

Starting a family has by far been the biggest and best adventure I’ve had!  I have a 2 year old son who keeps my wife and me busy 24/7, but I wouldn’t change it for anything!

Nick, thanks for the interview! It was a pleasure. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Really enjoyed it! Thanks!

Find me on Twitter @Cinema_Air


3 thoughts on “Interview with Nick Nordvedt, DPT, Cert MDT

  1. In reply to this question via Chris Hinze (@chinzeDPT on Twitter): F/U Q for Nick: What made you choose MDT cert route over other certs, residencies, etc?

    When I graduated from PT school, there weren’t any residencies close to the location I wanted to live. In talking with other PTs, there was a great buzz about MDT, but I did do my own due diligence in researching various OMPT approaches. I was initially drawn to MDT due to the focus on the patient doing as much for him/herself as possible. I think this is the second most important aspect of patient centered care following empathy.

    Progressing through MDT training, I think that the clinical framework is a great starting point when evaluating a patient. I explain it to patients as either moving (repeated movements) or not moving (sustained postures). Through this we can develop a management strategy, and it is easy for them to understand. This clinical framework also gives the clinician direction of when to progress force from patient generated to clinician generated which is when I would integrate manual techniques from a variety of backgrounds.

    Thanks, Chris, for the question!

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