The secret to passing any board exam (NPTE, NBCOT, NCLEX, etc…) finally revealed!

The secret to passing any board exam like the NPTE, NBCOT, and NCLEX is… ready for this…?

to study your ass off and to take multiple practice exams in a simulated setting…

The secret is this: hard work, sacrifice, and no play for the next few months will reward you in the end when you’re a newly licensed clinician.

Good luck on your exams and happy studying!

There are no shortcuts in life, people…

Ten things to buy for all new mommies this Mother’s Day

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Better than chocolates, flowers and greeting cards, here are some gift ideas for the new mommies in your life for this Mother’s Day!

1. Tory Burch flats! The new mama in your life deserves a pretty pair of flats, especially ones that she can show off in the summer and run errands in. They aren’t the most comfortable or supportive shoes, but hey, they’re comfier than high heels!

Tory Burch Reva Ballet Flats ( picture)

2. A swing to put baby in while she does her chores and work. (Just be sure to put a baby moon pillow beneath baby’s head to prevent flat-headedness. Don’t put the baby in the swing for more than 30 minutes at a time. Baby should always be supervised.)

Snugabunny Swing

Snugabunny Swing ( picture)

3. A gift certificate for a massage (or massages ūüôā )!

4. L’Occitane Mom and Baby Balm made with Shea Butter, for mommy’s stretch marks and baby’s dry skin.

5. A Babies R’us Gift card! New babies go through hundreds of diapers in a month– new mommies will appreciate gift cards they can use to buy diapers and other things they need to use on their precious bundles of joys every day.

6. A new camera to snap hundreds of pictures of her new baby! You can’t go wrong with a nice new camera from Sony! Alternatively, get her a new smartphone to snap hundreds of pictures of her new baby!

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7. ¬†If the new mommy in your life hasn’t given birth yet, get her a pocket fetal doppler and some ultrasound gel. That way, she can always listen to her baby’s heartbeats even when she’s not at her doctor’s office.

8. For the working new mommy, get her a portable breast pump if she doesn’t already have one. I recommend this one from Medela– you can use batteries or the adapter. It’s very portable and hardy– I dropped it a few times and it still works perfectly! New mommies note– in the US, your insurances can pay for one breast pump when you’re pregnant or had recently given birth. Contact your medical insurance companies for more information.

Medela Swing Pump ( picture)

9. A brand-name diaper bag would be nice ūüôā This is a cute one from Kate Spade, the¬†BOW TILE FRANCIS BABY BAG.

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10. And the last thing is something money can’t buy.¬†Your love. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas and grannies out there!

xoxoxo from Kat Lieu and her little man, Phil

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Ten Reasons Why I Hate Being a New Mommy

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1. I have to leave this cutie every morning. (Case Closed)

Image(image © copyright kat lieu 2014)

2. I don’t get to pinch his cute cheeks every¬†Monday thru Friday from 7:30 AM to 6:30 PM as a working mama, ever since Phil was less than four months old. Thanks USA for not giving new mommies better maternity leave benefits like the rest of the developed world.

3. I can’t¬†breast feed him in public without strangers giving me¬†stink eyes.

4.¬†Or find a clean and private place to use the breast pump when I’m going out.

5. I live in New York City, land of pushy commuters, crazy drivers, stressful workplaces and unsympathetic strangers. I just want to spend more time with my baby, sheesh!

Image(copyright someecards)

6. I never get a seat after work for my hour-long commute. I’m no longer pregnant, but I’m a working mama who barely sleeps and relies on napping on the train for repose.

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7. I did not get enough advice from people who matter: nurses, doctors and therapists. Babies should sleep on their backs but no one teaches new mommies how to prevent their babies from developing flattened heads. Over 50% of babies in America now have flattened heads due to sleeping on their backs. PS: Helmets can’t correct flat heads, contrary to popular belief.¬†

8. I want to be pregnant again but living in the city and working full time as a new mommy is too stressful. I don’t want to go through that cycle again, and have to miss two children at a time.

9. Maria Kang and other fat-shamers. What’s my excuse why I’m still overweight? I work 7.25 hours a day and come home to work 6 more hours before my baby finally sleeps. I don’t have time to exercise and melt away my pregnancy pounds. (Gained 44 pounds during pregnancy. Lost 24 of those pounds naturally over the course of seven months.)

Image(Copyright someecards)

10. I just feel like I can still do so much more for my little Phil and wish he would one day tell me that I’m the best mom ever. I hate external factors that take away my joy as a mommy, but I don’t hate being Phil’s mommy and wouldn’t give it up for the world. Mommy loves you and your rolls, Philly, now and forever. ‚̧

Image(image © copyright kat lieu 2014)


We must lower a medical doctor’s salary and prestige in this new world of health care

Before graduating high school, a friend of mine wanted to become a doctor. She ended up pursuing a career in investment banking. I knew this friend would never become a doctor– she’s not compassionate or altruistic and never had any interest in healing or saving people. She wanted to become a doctor because doctors made money.

A neurosurgeon I know makes well over a million dollars a year. A dentist I know makes well over 600 dollars a day. Neither of these two people are very good to their parents or siblings. If they can’t treat their own relatives well, I wonder how they’re treating their patients.

All my life, I’ve gone to doctors who don’t hesitate in prescribing antibiotics for me. Two years ago, an¬†otolaryngologists prescribed antibiotics for me to treat my nasty case of viral bronchitis. The last I checked, antibiotics don’t work against viruses. In April 2014, a doctor prescribed antibiotics to treat my nonexistent urinary tract infection (my urine sample came back negative for bacteria).¬†

When I was a student physical therapist, a respected doctor in a Brooklyn hospital ordered for me to¬†walk¬†patient. This patient was writhing in pain. She was recently diagnosed with metastatic cancer in every bone of her legs.¬†If I had followed the doctor’s orders, I could have caused¬†the patient to fracture the bones in her legs.

I can not begin to tell you how much I disrespect medical doctors for their lack of common sense, bedside manners, compassion, and respect for other health professions. Medical doctors see themselves as everyone else’s superior. They talk down to their patients and their colleagues. They demand higher and higher salaries. They laugh when other professionals call themselves doctors. A group of medical residents ridiculed me when I called myself Dr. Lieu. I’m a doctor of physical therapy, mind you, who has gone through six years of schooling and 24 weeks of clinical rotations prior to graduation. I made less than $56,000 at my first job. Since then, I’ve touched and enhanced hundreds of lives and never killed one.

How many medical doctors and medical residents can honestly say that they have never directly or indirectly killed their patient(s)? How many medical doctors smile at their patients, know their names, or even touch their patients? A year ago, I complained of flank pain that could possibly be related to a kidney infection. The urologist I went to did not touch my back, not even once.

Lower the salaries of medical doctors and you’ll get people who really want to make a difference, save lives, and treat people, apply for medical school. Lower the cost of medical school. Lower the prestige associated with the MD or surgeon title and you’ll have humble clinicians who see their patients as fellow human beings. Nurses and physical therapists become their peers, not subordinates. You’ll have a world where less patients die. Bedside manners improve drastically. And you won’t have doctors like Sandeep Jauhar complaining on the New York Times that “Nurses aren’t doctors,” and that doctors are paid too little, and that doctors should always lead primary care teams.

Health care and the world is changing. We don’t need more doctors like Sandeep Jauhar. We need humble and dedicated health professionals whose main goal is to treat patients like fellow human beings. People who want to work in a team and not always as the leader. You’d be surprised how smart nurses and physical therapists are, Dr. Jauhar. For one, we would never quote a study that was published in 1999 to make a point in the year 2014. (Read his article here:¬†

15 Reasons to Date a Physical Therapist

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1. They get physical, physical… (case closed)

2. They’re usually fit, athletic, and sporty. Which means they’re sexy.

3. Physical therapy is a noble profession. PTs are compassionate. They really care about their patients. Amongst the other health care professions, physical therapy is not known to be lucrative. Nurses graduating with a bachelor of science sometimes make more than PTs graduating with a doctorate. Physical Therapists do what they do because they want to help people get better.

4. Call them Doctor. Almost all physical therapists in the US graduate with a doctorate now.

5. They give great massages. ūüėČ (Though they’re probably sick of people asking them for massages.)

6. They’re smart. In order to become licensed, they take a ridiculously hard board exam called the NPTE. Their curriculum rival that of medical doctors. Sometimes, physical therapists are smarter than medical doctors and have better bedside manners, hands down.

7. ¬†They’re good listeners. Patients complain to them all the time about their pain and other problems.

8. They’ll be available for you. They don’t work crazy hours, normally just the standard nine to five schedule.

9. They’re logical, practical, and objective because they’re all about evidence-based practice.

10. They don’t have ridiculous loans. Their schooling is shorter than a ¬†medical doctor’s.

11. They’re not as stressed. They make patients feel better and see results at almost every treatment session. Because their patients are happy, they’re happy.

12. They’re great conversationalists. To be a good therapist, you have to know how establish good rapport with patients.

13. They’re patient. They deal with silly requests from other clinicians. All the time.

14. They’ll take you on creative dates. PTs are always thinking of creative ways to treat their patients.

15. They’ll take care of you, keep you healthy, and treat you when you get hurt. You can’t go wrong with dating a physical therapist ūüėČ

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A New Mother’s 18 Hour Work Day in America: USA trails world on paid maternity leave and new mothers barely have time to breathe

Some people think that you’re just slacking off when you’re working from home. As a mom (of a newborn) who works full time, slacking off is the last thing I do when I get to work from home (mostly during dangerous snowstorms or Hurricane Sandy).

Here’s my schedule from last Wednesday during a wintry mess when I worked from home:

  • 6:08am: Wake up, brush teeth, use bathroom, drink a glass of water
  • 6:30am: Use the breast pump to extract 5 ounces of breast milk
  • 7:00am: Make breakfast for husband
  • 7:30am: Shovel snow and fail. Condo board did not manage the snow properly. Car inaccessible so can’t drop off baby–must work from home.
  • 8:00am: Request to work from home from 9:00am to 5:00pm, emailed boss a detailed work plan for the day. Request granted.
  • 8:00am: Eat a piece of toast. Feed baby
  • 8:30am: Change baby’s diaper
  • 9:00am: Put baby in crib for nap. Began working until 11:30am
  • 11:30am:¬†Use the breast pump to extract 5 ounces of breast milk while reading and responding to work emails
  • 12:00pm: Feed baby, make lunch for husband. Realized I did not have my coffee yet. Drink water. Eat lunch. Breathe and relax for ten minutes. Play with baby, bounce him to stop his fussing and crying.
  • 1:00pm: Back to work until 3:30pm (in between, baby naps, cries, fusses. I bounce him on my lap while working)
  • 3:30pm:¬†Use the breast pump to extract 5 ounces of breast milk while checking work emails
  • 4:00pm: Feed baby before changing his diaper again
  • 4:00pm: Back to work until 5:00pm
  • 5:00pm: Wash all dishes from the day, do other chores
  • 6:00pm: Prepare dinner. No time to cook. Not much left in the fridge. Eat leftovers and takeout. Take shower
  • 7:30pm:¬†Use the breast pump to extract 5 ounces of breast milk
  • 8:00pm: Feed baby, play with him, read to him until 9:30pm. Change his diaper. He will nap until midnight
  • 9:30pm to 11:30pm: Finally some free time. Check personal emails, Facebook, blog, spend time with husband, watch some TV before using¬†the breast pump to extract 5 ounces of breast milk
  • 12:00am: Feed baby, change his diaper one last time, put him to sleep, brush my teeth, and go to sleep like a baby myself a little before 1:00am (wake up again at 6am the next day. The cycle continues from Monday to Friday, different when I’m shuffling into the office and pumping milk at work, but equally tiring. On the weekends, the only difference is that I don’t have to work.)

That’s my 18+ hour day as a mom who works full-time and has the occasional “privilege” of working from home. Here in America, new mothers barely have time to breathe, especially if they have to work as well. Our maternity leave benefits are absolutely atrocious. During my maternity leave from October 8th, 2013 to January 29th, 2014, I exhausted my sick days and used five personal days and three vacation days. At the end of January, ¬†I received a short-term disability check for approximately eight hundred dollars. On most days for lunch, I ate TV dinners or my husband’s leftovers to save money. Before my newborn turned four months old, I left him with a heavy heart to return to working full time.

Becoming a mother, I now have newfound appreciation for all mothers out there. We really are superwomen.

Mama does this for you, Philly.

Update: My workplace has now allowed me to work once a week from home. I treasure this time I get to spend with Philly.

Dear Philly, Mama loves you


Mama has loved you since last February on Valentine’s Day when she discovered that you were just a little bean in her tummy. Back then, Mama didn’t know if you were a beautiful boy or girl. Mama carried you for nine months and never felt alone with you swimming in her belly. Gaining more than forty pounds was okay. Mama happily carried you, a healthy and energetic baby. She¬†had never felt more feminine or beautiful as a woman.

In March, Mama took you to Old Town in Alexandria, Virginia where she worked for the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. Then in April, you flew together to Tokyo and Hong Kong. You had a little taste of the freshest sashimi and the best tempura. Mama couldn’t hold down any of her food for the first three months: shark fin soup, abalone, real wonton soup, golden egg tarts, a lobster the size of a miniature poodle‚Äďyou had a little taste of everything (not the poodle) before you were even born. In July, you went to Minneapolis where Mama accepted an award from the National Association of Health Care Recruiters, proudly rubbing her belly on stage. In September, her CEO recognized her in front of more than three hundred rehabilitation therapists. Even in utero, you loved the limelight.

Carrying you, Mama felt like an amazing woman, one who can accomplish anything. None of her accomplishments could compare to giving birth to you, beloved Philly. Mama endured Pitocin-induced contractions for seven hours before begging her nurse for an epidural. Twenty hours  later, you came into the world via a c-section. When the anesthesia wore off and she finally held you, you two have never been apart.

Until now. Sorry, dearest Philly. Mama doesn’t want to leave you, but here in America, she has no choice. If she doesn’t work full-time, she’ll have to give up your home. She won’t be able to put aside money for you to go to college. She won’t be able to give you a life you deserve, here in America where her taxes pay for other parents to stay at home and have dozens of children.

When Mama takes the train to work every morning, she will think about you and wonder if you’re still sleeping. When Mama uses the breast pump in her office, she will close her eyes and imagine that you’re in her arms as she’s feeding you. At lunch, she will call and hope to hear your voice, even though you are a stingy babbler. On the ride home, she will power-sleep, so she can come home and spend approximately six wonderful hours with you before both of you sleep for the night. Every day at work, she will try her best not to cry. If she has to cry, she’ll close her office door and turn on Pandora. Missing you will break her heart, but she’ll be strong. She’ll treasure the time she gets to spend with you when she’s at home and during the weekends.

Mama will probably miss many of your milestone moments. Your first word. The first time you sit unsupported. The first time you pass a toy from one hand to the other. The first time you stand. Maybe even your first steps. Mama will make sure those moments will be recorded, and Mama will watch those recordings over and over again.

Dearest Philly, you may not remember these moments when we’re apart, but Mama will. Mama will remember napping next to you, seeing your happy, chubby face. Mama will remember your soft hair, your beautiful smile, and Mama will even miss hearing you cry. Yes, even that loud wailing that you do in the middle of the night. If Mama could, Mama would choose to be with you longer and watch you grow and change, day by day. In the wild, an orca mama whale nurses her newborn for at least a year. Mama only had a little more than three months with you after you were born.

And those were wonderful and unforgettable months, albeit too short.

Just know this, Philly, even when Mama’s not with you, Mama loves you, now and forever. If it were up to Mama, you would be with her 24/7, as you should be during your first year of life.


In Canada, Kat’s home country, moms get 50 weeks of maternity leave at up to 45% pay.

In Serbia, moms receive 52 weeks of maternity leave at 100% pay. So do moms in Denmark. In Britain, moms receive 52 weeks of maternity leave at 90% pay.

Moms in Sweden receive 60 weeks of maternity leave at 80% pay.

You’d think it’s bad in France where moms receive only 16 weeks of maternity leave at 100% pay. It’s not as bad as it is in the land of the free and home of the brave.

In America, Kat used up two weeks of sick days and one week of vacation days. She still hasn’t received her short-term disability pay checks yet (three weeks worth at ~$107 per week.) For the last 12 weeks, she’s been on unpaid maternity leave (Family Medical Leave Act). Go figure.