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Toni Talks about PT Today

October is PT Month

Published October 21, 2009 8:30 AM by Toni Patt
Tomorrow morning my department is going to have a breakfast for all the PTs to celebrate PT month.  The food will be provided by the OTs, STs and supervisors.  Sometime next week the rehab unit is supposed to do something similar.  I'll be surprised if that happens because no one seems to want to take on the responsibility of making it happen. Personally I would be happy if someone just brought decent coffee for us. The nasty tasting brown water provided by the hospital doesn't do much for me.

It's nice to be recognized. It makes you feel good about what you do. It makes you feel good about your profession. That is the purpose behind PT month, recognition of PTs. The APTA offers banners, T-shirts, pens and whatnot for sale to help us celebrate.  It's too bad no one outside of our department will know anything about it.

Let's face it. PT month, just like OT month and ST month, generally passes without anyone outside of rehab even noticing. The hospital I work at isn't recognizing it. I haven't even received an email acknowledging it. The same isn't true for nursing.  Everywhere I've worked Nursing week is always recognized.  I always know when Nursing week happens because there are posters and emails telling me. One hospital I worked at gave all the nurses and CNAs lunch bags in celebration. 

Okay, nurses are important. They are an essential part of the health care team.  But they aren't the only one the team.  Other disciplines make contributions to patient care yet it seems only nurses get any recognition.  Does anyone know when Dietician month is?  How about Respiratory month?  I'm tired of being forgotten and deemed unimportant.   Nurses aren't the only health care providers, yet they seem to dominate everyone else.

I can get past lack of recognition for PT month.  There are more important things for us to worry about.  However, I wonder if this social slight is a symptom of something more ominous.  Is lack of recognition a sign of how the medical community views PT?  Although medicine is moving toward a patient-centered approach it is currently controlled by physicians.  Everything must go through them.  Right behind physicians is nursing.  Neither one of them could function without other disciplines. It's time the other disciplines are acknowledged. 

The problem isn't cost.  It costs practically nothing except a few minutes of someone's time to send an email to all employees acknowledging October as PT month.  I think the problem is mindset.  No one would deny the importance of physical therapy.  It just doesn't seem like we're that high on the medical hierarchy.   The solution is simple.  Either recognize everyone somehow or don't recognize everyone.  Instead recognize the team.  Instead of celebrating every individual month or week, recognize everyone at the same time.  That makes everyone equally important on the health care team.

I'll enjoy breakfast tomorrow.  I just hope someone brings some good coffee.

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