This Is a Test
Several of my family members are in the process of transferring old photographs, 35mm slides and film negatives into digital format. A project I encouraged my mom to complete for many years was one of the best Christmas gifts I received this year, as I can now click through hundreds of my childhood photos on my computer. (You may recall a previous blog where I wrote about winning a photography contest. Photography is one of my favorite hobbies). Now, there is still nothing like the old photo albums they came from but it's nice to have the photographs organized and more easily shareable.
One of my relatives took in a stack of slides to be transferred to a CD and told the staff at the photo shop, quite frankly, "This is a test." The small stack of 30 slides was a sample of more than 4,000 slides, which could all be transferred to digital copies if the test run went well. The sales clerk wrote on the package, "Test for possible larger order." We were all excited to see how the slides would turn out in a digital version -- images we had only seen on a small slide viewer could now be seen on any computer!
Over Christmas we popped the disc into the computer and clicked through the images of our priceless memories. Some images were wonderful; just as crystal clear and colorful as we had remembered. But, some were not great. Some had dirt on the digital copy because the slide hadn't been cleaned completely. Some images were crooked because they hadn't been lined up straight prior to being scanned. We were all a little disappointed because we were so hopeful the "test run" would be flawless.
What would happen if a patient of physical therapy told his therapist, "This is a test?" How would it feel to be tested? What if a patient's experience and outcomes determined if he would return? This is probably a theme prevalent in the minds of private practice therapists since referrals and loyal patients help sustain their businesses, but for some therapists, the idea isn't as strong. Would you practice differently if you knew you were being tested? Should every patient be treated as a "test?" Should there be a difference between a "regular patient" and a "test run," or should we be practicing our best with every appointment, every time?