Meet Our OEAA West Winner: Cathy Lanie

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After more than 35 years as a physical therapist, Cathy Lanie’s dedication to her field hasn’t waned. She’s always looking for ways to improve her skills as a therapist and is eager to share her learnings and experience with others.

Lanie, a physical therapist at Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Utah, was named the company’s 2021 Outstanding Employee Achievement Award winner for its West region. Stephen Bartlett, the hospital’s director of therapy operations, said it’s her drive and dedication to always improve herself, as well as others, that made her so deserving of this honor.

“Cathy wants to make a difference not only in therapy but also across the entire hospital,” he said. “One thing that impresses me about her is that she’s been a therapist for 37 years. A lot of times when you’re that far in your career, you’re kind of comfortable where you are. She continues to want to expand influence and use her experience and knowledge to improve hospital programs.”

Growing Hers—and Others’—Careers

Lanie serves as the hospital’s stroke program champion and is certified in neurodevelopmental treatment (NDT). She is the go-to expert in treating stroke patients, quick to share techniques with her coworkers.

In addition to serving as a mentor to her fellow physical therapists at Encompass Health Utah, Lanie also heads a PT/PTA student program, taking on two to three students a year and serves as a mentor and preceptor to new employees.

“She has been a mentor and showed me the ropes,” said Hannah Wilkes, physical therapist assistant. “Anytime I need something, she’s available. I would love to be like her when I get further in my career.”

The Transfer Queen

Petite in stature, Lanie’s coworkers are always amazed at how effortlessly she can transfer her patients—both large and small. Her ability to do this has earned her the title of transfer queen among her colleagues.

“She can transfer a 500-pound patient by herself without hurting herself,” said Holly Sewell, a physical therapy assistant. “When others try to transfer a patient like this there are three employees with a slide board and slide sheet.”

Lanie serves as a STOP program champion at the hospital. The program focuses on safely transferring patients to avoid injury to both employees and patients

Inspired to Care

An avid snow skier and athlete, Lanie is always amazed at what the body can do. She said she’s reminded of that daily when she works with patients at Encompass Health Utah.

“It’s inspiring and interesting to see what the body can and can’t do,” she said. “People here have gone through bad things, and they make it through; they rise to the occasion. It’s inspiring to get to be a part of that.”

Former patient Bernie Ruiz had lost all hope when he arrived at Encompass Health Utah after a spinal cord injury left him a paraplegic. He said Lanie’s gentle voice and positive demeanor gave him hope that all was not lost after his injury.

“Just the way she helped me; she would always encourage me to think positive,” he said. “She cares for her patients a lot.”

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