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Toni Talks about PT Today

The Educated Tech

Published September 18, 2012 11:20 AM by Toni Patt

Last weekend I worked at one of my usual haunts. I overhead something disturbing while sitting at the nursing station writing notes. Another therapist and a tech came up to talk to one of the nurses. To my surprise instead of the therapist explaining the situation, the tech did. I don't know how accurate she was but from where I was sitting, it sounded like she knew what she was talking about.

Can we say, "Huh?" Since when does a tech talk for a therapist? I'm not denying the woman knew what she was saying. I've worked with many techs who were very knowledgeable. They learn the profession the hands-on way instead of through school. My problem is the tech talking for the therapist, who was standing next to her completely silent. This wasn't a tech reporting because the therapist was unavailable or relaying what the therapist was saying. She was in charge of the conversation.

The tech I work with now is very good. Sometimes she has better ideas about what to do than I do. Whenever she makes a suggestion, she prefaces it with, "You're the therapist." We make a good team. I don't believe the woman I overheard knows what a team is. Earlier in the day, I offered to help her and that therapist. Before I could finish my offer, she told me no. Once again the therapist didn't udder a word. This makes me wonder about the dynamics within that department.

Maybe the woman meant no disrespect. Maybe the nurse was more familiar with the tech and so spoke to her. I don't know. I just think she should have let the therapist answer. To me, it sounded rude but I was eavesdropping, which isn't exactly acceptable behavior either. Yes, we should definitely respect our techs and their knowledge. We should recognize their value. A good tech is priceless.

There is another way of looking at this. Suppose the therapist didn't know what to say. Suppose the therapist was clueless about the patient. It was a wound-care patient so that is entirely possible. That scenario raises some disturbing thoughts.

We need to be careful that the line doesn't become blurred between skilled care and something that can be performed by a non-skilled person. This is a slippery slope. I'm glad the woman has the knowledge -- maybe it's just her people skills that need work.


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