The recent National Geographic
cover caught my eye and I bought it. There is a picture of a mechanical hand with the title of "Merging Man and Machine." I was disappointed by the fact that only occupational therapy was mentioned and only in passing.
Then I got to thinking about bionics and why we are not being educated in this emerging technology. Are we being left behind and let down by our peer organization? Rather than focus on the DPT, the PTs and PTAs might do well with an engineering degree with a focus in prosthetics and orthotics.
Emerging trends can be difficult to establish in our field. Partly because the first question we have is, "Who will pay for it?" But when we think about the next generation of therapy tools that we can use to improve people's lives, we should be looking towards machinery that can be implanted into the residual limbs and then focus on the functional aspects of what we can do to help them.
The largest problem is that there are not enough patients with this new technology right now and hence no educational format for us to look at on a large scale. The concern is that when the bionic technology is widely available, will we have enough qualified therapists to effectively treat and manage those patients? My answer is probably not.
Maybe it is time for me to pursue another degree.