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Raising the Bar in Rehab

Sharing Information

Published May 2, 2014 2:36 PM by Lisa Mueller

When I was a student in my clinical rotations for physical therapy, I spent a lot of time researching various topics. It would start with a diagnosis I was unfamiliar with, which would lead to some research articles where I would learn about different tests and measures and treatment concepts. It was exciting to learn all these new things and implement them immediately into practice, and I would often share these "discoveries" with my clinical instructor.

Looking back on that experience from my perspective now as a rehab supervisor, I wish the student Lisa would have shared more of that knowledge with a wider audience. I wish I would have offered my research findings to other therapists in the department. I'm always impressed with the wealth of collective knowledge our rehab department holds -- with so many therapists each with different experiences and specialties, we have a lot of information when united as a group. So, how do we make sharing information and knowledge easier?

When looking at making departments more efficient, or when implementing the "lean" concepts to healthcare, underutilized knowledge and talent is one of the eight wastes frequently needing attention. Wow! What an awesome thing to contemplate. Using everyone's skills and talents to the fullest capacity is on the same thought chain as working efficiently. That's awesome! This also reminds me of a book I read in physical therapy school and have written about before -- Now, Discover Your Strengths. Recognizing strengths and talents is the first step in being able to utilize them to the fullest potential.

How does your department or facility work to share information and capitalize on each therapist's strengths? Is your work biased toward independent caseloads, and therefore less interaction between therapists? Or, do your therapists connect regularly to share ideas and specific patient cases? With the growth of technology and options like email and web discussion boards, what's the best way to stay connected with each other?

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