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Raising the Bar in Rehab


Published October 13, 2011 9:16 AM by

It is finally fall. I started my morning by eating breakfast while watching the leaves fall from the trees; it's almost so much it looks like rain. After I finished eating, I grabbed my broom and tried to sweep off the front porch but before I could even walk back into the house the pathway was covered with leaves again. The air is so crisp I could have stayed out there all morning, brushing leaves away. I have my recipe for chili sitting in the kitchen and I'm excited to have it with some apple cider this week. It's a beautiful time of year.

I probably don't need to remind you that this is also Physical Therapy Month. I am celebrating by starting to plan attending the APTA Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) in February. I am not an APTA member and I haven't ever attended the CSM before, but since it is being hosted in Chicago this year it is close enough and something I definitely want to experience. Some of the course descriptions sound very interesting; there are too many to choose from! I have to do a little more investigating how the conference works, such as if I can just go to whichever courses interest me or if there is a more structured sign-up to be at the courses.

At the Wisconsin Physical Therapy Association state meeting in April 2012, I will be presenting with three other clinicians regarding acute-care practice in a critical illness setting. We have been meeting monthly to organize the material and prepare for a four-hour course. There is so much information to explain and a lot of thought goes into deciding the most effective way to present it. I'm hoping that by attending the CSM in February, I will be more confident for my own public-speaking opportunity just two months later!

I remember one of my clinical instructors was planning to attend the CSM while I was her student. She was so excited to go. She explained to me how the CSM is her annual time to reconnect with old classmates, focus on new material and learn new research she would implement at work throughout the rest of the year. CSM was also time for her to travel and spend some needed adult time alone without her children. Now, CSM isn't that to me, but it was fun to see what the APTA events mean to other people.



I'm sure your presentation will be excellent!  I look forward to reading about your experience.

Janey Goude October 14, 2011 12:44 PM


I think it ultimately comes down to that- I feel like the APTA does send a message that members "must fit our paradigm" instead of finding ways to help the members, although I don't have any substantial evidence to support that feeling.  Think of the countless ways other unions survey the needs of their members, whereas the APTA sort of floats along without much input.  

Lisa West October 13, 2011 10:13 PM

Lisa, Thanks for your candid response.

A conundrum, does the APTA not meet our needs and therefore we don't join, or does the APTA not meet our needs because we don't join?

It is interesting that nearly 90% of the physios in the UK belong to the CSP (Chartered Society of Physiotherapists) including myself. It could be because one is automatically a member of their trade union then. It could just be part of the culture. I find that they actually represent the bulk of my views and lobby lawmakers here in a way that I support.

The ethos of the APTA still seems to be "you must fit our paradigm" rather than the organization working to fit the needs of the practicing professionals.

Happy Physical Therapy Month! (We don't have that over here)

Cheers, Dean

Dean October 13, 2011 4:48 PM


Ohhh the dreaded APTA debate!  I have thought about blogging about the subject, but people tend to be very opinionated about either being a member or not, so I just try to stay out of it.  

Initially, my decision was completely financial.  I was a new grad learning how to budget money for my overwhelming loan payments and I just could not justify the money for seemingly little in return.  The APTA website at that time was difficult to use (upgraded since then) and I didn't see any majoy benefits to being a member.  

Now, I work in a setting where very few of my coworkers are members.  Maybe 1 or 2 out of 20-30 therapists.  Membership does not impact my annual performance review and does not appear to be a priority.  I use other websites to catch up on my research.   I have friends in other careers- accounting, for example, and it is standard practice for employers in that field to pay for their membership to the national association.  Not the case in physical therapy.  

So I haven't made the plung to become a member again, although I understand the APTAs mission better now than I did when I graduated from school.  Maybe I will change my position after attending the CSM!  

Lisa West October 13, 2011 2:56 PM

I'm curious as to your rationale for not being a member of the APTA. You seem to fit the bill of exactly the type of person they would want as a member. What influenced your choices?

PS: I'm sure you'll be fantastic with your presentation!

Dean October 13, 2011 12:39 PM

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