Annual Reviews and Shutdown Blues
It's Monday night, and as I sit here watching CNN's coverage of the impending government shutdown, I started to write a post about the shutdown and the Affordable Care Act and how they're all related and not related etc. But then I started hearing congressmen from both sides of the aisle and pundits with varying personal political ideologies go on and on about how they were absolutely right and everyone else was absolutely wrong... well it started to get my blood boiling. So instead, I'm going to write about something different. Something far more benign, I will grant you, but something that I still think is important: the impending annual review!
I had my annual review last month. Our corporation uses a fancy spreadsheet with various "service values" and departmental policies listed that we as employees self-grade and our supervisors grade, with the overall rating given by our supervisors. This rating typically correlates to percentage of wage increase announced in October each year (although this year with budget cuts and layoffs, no one will be holding their breaths on a wage increase).
Now, this was the fourth time I've done one of these reviews, and for the first time I realized something new -- what little emphasis was placed on clinical skills. There are multiple sections about making sure I'm courteous to patients. There are other sections about following the corporation's code of ethics and my state's practice act. There are even more sections about corporate responsibilities and working as part of the healthcare team.
Don't get me wrong, I completely agree all of these things are important. But I've been thinking a lot lately, why did I become a physical therapist? It surely wasn't to show everyone what a nice guy I am. It wasn't to prove to corporate administrators that I can play by the rules. It also wasn't to show everyone I can be a team player. Now again, I feel I need to qualify this by saying, I do all of these things anyway. But it still comes down to one thing for me, I became a PT to provide interventions that help people get better. That word, "intervention" appears once on the entire review form. Once. I think this is pretty absurd, personally.
I've been thinking a lot as well about what might serve as a good model for a physical therapist's annual review. And I keep coming back to the CPI for students. All of the things about following laws/ethics, being courteous to patients, being a team player, it's all in there! But the emphasis of the CPI is by and large on clinical skills. There are sections about evaluation skills, tests and measures, examination tools, critical thinking, patient/therapist safety etc.
Shouldn't this be what I'm graded on? I'm a licensed physical therapist. I was hired to provide physical therapy interventions. Why must the emphasis of my personal annual review be on protecting the interests of the corporation? Isn't that the job of the corporate administrators? (And for the record, I'm well aware of the fact that if the corporation didn't exist, neither would my job. What I'm talking about here is more of whose job description this falls under).
Has anyone else experienced anything like this? Any thoughts/suggestions?