I Would Like to Respond
I read the comments on my post two weeks ago with interest. In that post I urged the powers that be not to grant the DPT title to therapists who would be grandfathered in to continue practicing. My main argument was the DPT title implies a level of education and knowledge. An individual who had not earned the degree does not have the knowledge. I never said those individuals weren't skilled therapists. Nor did I say there weren't therapists who religiously keep up on continuing education and skills. I said there is a difference between the two.
All along I have defended experienced therapists over newly graduated DPTs. The DPTs have knowledge but generally have little clue what to do with it. I've also commented on the lack of work ethic I've been seeing in newer graduates. The DPT doesn't make them better therapists. It simply means they have demonstrated a specific knowledge base. The APTA would like us to believe that knowledge base proves we are capable of practice without referral.
Right away that creates a problem. If the APTA says DPTs are capable of practice without referral, does that mean the remaining therapists aren't? That might be driving the discussion on a blanket granting of the title. Now lets ask ourselves, do we want practice without referral that badly? Wouldn't it be better to base the ability on something other than a degree? We've all worked with PTs who are book smart but lack clinical judgment. Having a DPT wouldn't make those therapists better clinicians.
Over the years I've worked with some excellent therapists. I've also worked with some who should stop practicing immediately. Currently I work in a large department and could say that about some of my coworkers. Doing the same thing, the same way because it worked before isn't true physical therapy. It is a cookbook approach that eliminates any clinical judgment. Those coworkers are fine in their current situation as long as nothing changes significantly. They keep going to continuing education courses. They meet all the requirements to practice. They get out exactly what they put into their profession. Is that someone who deserves a DPT?
There are therapists like that throughout Houston. I can extrapolate that into the entire country. Most of the facilities I've worked at had at least two or three of those. I can think of one SNF where the entire staff falls into that category. When I talk about this being a problem, I have personal knowledge of it. I can state for a fact none of the PTs I work with on rehab know how to search literature for evidence. That doesn't mean they don't use evidence. It means they can't find it without help. Others who know how to search lack access to a search engine. Again, they can use evidence but aren't able to find it themselves. That doesn't make them bad therapists.
To those who don't agree with me or my conclusion, I say ask yourself if you can find evidence. Can you pull the relevant information out of literature? Have you developed a specialized knowledge base or gone to whatever CEU option was available at the time on a regular basis? Are you current with the literature? If you can answer yes to these questions, I apologize. I know there are some of you out there who can answer yes without the benefit of a DPT. Those are some of the things I learned while working on my DPT that I wouldn't have learned any other way.