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Toni Talks about PT Today

Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is

Published March 24, 2010 11:14 AM by Toni Patt
I've spent a lot of time complaining about the state of affairs in the physical therapy world. Sometimes I've had suggestions on how to improve. Sometimes I've played devil's advocate. Often, I've pointed out the contradictions in what is being said and what is being implemented. But I've never been able to do anything about it. I've decided to do something about that.

Every month I get an email from the SED (southeaster district of the TPTA). The email is a reminded of the upcoming meeting and includes the topic of the presentation. This time there was something else, a request for volunteers to serve as board members for the SED. There are four positions that will be up for election in April. I decided to volunteer to run for election.

Because the SED isn't very large, volunteering is almost the same as being elected. The odds of someone running against me are slim to none. There are two reasons: One, not that many people are willing to volunteer for anything. There is also a desire for new blood on the board so those who have already served aren't likely to oppose someone new. In essence, I believe I may have elected myself to the SED board.

Of course I didn't just volunteer, I chose which position I wanted to run for. Not being one to do things on a small scale, I chose the position of vice chair. Of the available positions, that is the one with the greatest opportunity to bring about change. The vice chair liaisons with the local PT and PTA schools. The vice chair also oversees the bylaws. Now I doubt I'll change any bylaws, but I'm sure I'll change some processes. My first goal will be to stop the orthopedic education in favor of other topics. My second will be to work on getting more people involved.

I believe I'm uniquely qualified to do that. After all, I've devoted a lot of time to pointing out problems and areas of neglect. I've skipped meetings because topics didn't appeal to me. I don't contribute because I don't buy into the current agenda that is being pushed. The question isn't whether or not I can enlighten them. The question is, will anyone listen?

I have my doubts about the listening. I've heard nothing since I sent my e-mail stating my desire to volunteer and the position I was interested in. Granted, nothing happens until April, but April isn't that far away. I was expecting at least an e-mail acknowledging my interest. Now I'm asking myself if I should follow up. I can send more e-mails. Unfortunately I think I'll miss this month's meeting even though I want to go despite the topic of treating an orthopedic shoulder. I have another question for myself. How bad do I really want the position?

Whatever happens, at least I'm making an effort. That is more than many others can say. We all like to complain. Few are willing to do something about it. I wonder what would happen if more of us complainers stepped up and actually tried to do something. Things might change.

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