'The Next Evolution'
Last week's PT 2013 conference in Salt Lake City offered what has become an annual institution -- the 44th Mary McMillan Lecture. Promoting the theme "The Next Evolution," this presentation featured honorary speaker Roger Nelson, PT, PhD, FAPTA. Currently vice president of expert clinical benchmarks at MedRisk Inc., based in King of Prussia, PA, Nelson is also professor emeritus at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA, and a former professor at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Overall, Nelson has served the profession of physical therapy and APTA for more than 45 years, including 25 years as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Public Health Service.
ADVANCE sat down with Nelson after the presentation for a short interview about the message he sought to convey as McMillan lecturer.
"I saw it as a daunting challenge, and I wanted to offer a message that would resonate with attendees," he said. "So I emphasized how we as a profession need to evolve, in terms of research, education and practice. That includes identifying the value of physical therapy, emphasizing the role of data collection and analysis, while also understanding the importance of cost efficiency. Practices must act as businesses."
So did he believe that the presentation went well?
"Yes, and that was very important to me. I spent the past 14 months preparing and I tried to offer a cogent set of points that combined to present a vision for the future. In general, I think we need to ensure that PT isn't known as a 'commodity.' For example, in conversation people will say they have an appointment with their doctor or their dentist. But they usually don't say they have an appointment with their physical therapist. Instead they say a 'physical therapy appointment.' We need to develop the concept that we're a profession, not a commodity. Although progress has been slow in that aspect, I think we're making headway."