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Toni Talks about PT Today

TPTA Student Conclave

Published October 26, 2010 10:29 AM by Toni Patt

Last weekend, I went to the Texas Physical Therapy Association (TPTA) Student Conclave as a presenter. It was a learning experience. The conference itself was great. The location was good. The setting was appropriate. There was enough room in all the CEU courses. It looked like a large turnout. It was good to see so many of us supporting our profession.

While I was there, I made several observations. There are five or six of us who regularly attend the neurological CEU offerings. I imagine it's the same for all the practice areas. I'm not sure what that says about us. Making the effort to attend demonstrates an interest in furthering our skills and knowledge that goes above and beyond our need for CEUs. Does this mean we're the up-and-coming leaders, whether we like it or not, or merely the most dedicated?

It seemed to me there were more students than professionals in attendance. Granted, it was the Student Conclave but there were educational opportunities for the rest of us. Membership was not a requirement. There were opportunities to participate in the TPTA activities as well as support legislative proposals. I wonder where all the people who complain were. This was a perfect opportunity to be heard.

As for the legislative proponents, they were out in force. There were multiple opportunities to contribute to the PAC fund. In Texas, this money goes to support the TPTA's political agenda, which is practice without referral. I don't know anyone, beyond a few extremists, who thinks this is necessary at this time. I know many people concerned with salary and job security but there is no way to financially support that concern.

In order to recognize members of individual sections and individuals who support the TPTA, small ribbons were available that could be attached to the name badge. I had three. I saw a few with five. I saw many, many more with no ribbons. Those with ribbons tended to have more than one, making it look like a disproportionate number were the most involved. I think the sections are the best part of the APTA. They lack a political agenda and actually focus on what is important to therapists.

Overall it was a good experience. Everyone should attend a state-wide conference or conclave at least once in their career. It reinforces what it means to be a physical therapist and provides an opportunity for sharing ideas. I solved one the dilemmas of my research class simply by talking to the person sitting next to me at a break. A comment made during the CEU course gave me an idea of how to quantify gait in my acute stroke patients. Mainly it felt good to be around peers who at least recognized and appreciated the effort I've made to improve as a therapist.

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