We Need to Work Together
In the latest issue of PT Magazine
, Sharon Dunn, PT, PhD, OCS, talks about the need for PTs to work together no matter what degree they have. Throughout her article, Ms. Dunn provides examples of difficulties she believes PTs are running into as the three degree levels merge into one profession. Her intentions were good. But for some reason Ms. Dunn used her article to defend DPTs and tell the rest of us how we need to change. She relies on generalizations based on things she has heard rather than research to make her points. After reading the article I was offended. Why does all the responsibility to make things work fall on the rest of us?
One example she brings up is that PTs and DPTs were raised in different environments. I, and others in my age group, grew up using talking to convene information. You said what you needed to say. DPTs on the other hand grew up in the information age where everything is immediate. According to Ms. Dunn this results in communication problems because DPTs will tune out PTs if they take too long to get the point across. She refers to this as expecting information now. I refer to this as being rude. Common courtesy is to listen to someone while he or she is speaking. Tuning someone out because they are taking too long is rude. I don't care when you grew up.
She also brings up what she refers to as a difference in work ethic. DPTs, she believes, have found the balance of work and leisure. The rest of us are workaholics who become burned out, used up and bitter. Ms. Dunn failed to consider that work environment and the pressures of providing health care are responsible for being overworked. Fewer people are asked to do more. For those of us with a work ethic that means occasionally we take the extra patient or stay late a few minutes to get everything done. Where is the value of leaving on time if things are being left undone or incomplete? The patients that the DPTs are missing because they've gone home are falling to the rest of us to treat. Yeah, that makes me overworked.
She does address what she refers to as the "unteachable" attitudes of DPTs. Instead of telling them to get over themselves and recognize experienced PTs as a valuable resource, the rest of us are scolded. We are not doing enough to make the DPTs want to listen to us. PTs are instructed to take a DPT to a legislative session. When do I have the time? I'm overworked. We're instructed to incorporate evidence into our practices. I thought we were doing that. We're also instructed to become more comfortable with technology. Since you can't function in today's world without using technology I'm not sure what she means. Nonetheless these things will make DPTs more willing to listen to us. I have a suggestion. When they are students, tell them they will fail if they don't listen to their CIs.
I don't think her proposals are going to help us work together any better. For that to happen, each degree level needs to respect the others. We need to recognize that each group has something to offer and be willing to learn from each other. I'm not going to think much of someone who doesn't listen to me and thinks I don't know anything. Just like a DPT isn't going to listen to someone who thinks he knows it all but doesn't. I work with someone like that. No one listens to him. Eventually we'll get it worked out. In the mean time, I think a little flexibility and respect will go a long way.