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PT and the Greater Good

Just a PT

Published March 8, 2011 12:46 PM by Dean Metz

I arrived at the patient's home to be greeted by his wife.

"Hiya, alright?" (Typical Geordie greeting, which I've adopted.)

"Eeeee, sorry pet, he's feelin' poorly today like. I tried to give you a bell but I didn't have your number."

"Just as well I'm here then; I'll be able to examine him."

"He's not gonna exercise today, mind. He needs the GP or the nurse. Like I said, I tried to call you, I did."

"Well, good thing I'm here. Gives us a chance to give him a good look over. We won't do exercises and I'll give his lungs a good listening to."

"Whyaye! You can do that, like? I thought you was just a physio! Howay (come on) then."

"Just a physio"... I've had similar conversations back in New York. People on either side of the pond seem to have no idea that we can assess the whole person, not only the musculoskeletal system. We do more than seated knee extension and ankle pumps. Well, most of us do anyway.

So who should we thank for that? Is it the nurses and doctors who have no clue what we do sometimes? Is it some other PTs who sometimes can't be bothered to actually assess a whole person, but rather just perform ambu-drag or endless ankle pumps? Why don't people know what we can do?

The patient was assessed and got the treatment he needed, which was some chest physio. We reviewed his home program and put him on a progressive ambulation routine to build his endurance.

"Eeeee, pet! You're marvelous! You were just what we needed, like. I had no idea you physios could do all that. I'll make sure he does his breathin' exercises, mind. Tyrrah pet!"

Well, that makes two people better informed about what physio really is; only a few million more to go. Hey APTA and CSP, want to give us a hand?


I agree with the above comment.  We are a very diverse field! Problems come from different levels of education, experience, and dedication to life-long learning and studying research.  All PTs should work to promote what we can do as a profession and not just be comfortable in their setting.

Nick Rainey, Physical Therapy - Student, Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions June 17, 2011 10:35 AM
Provo UT

I agree with you tremendously that we have a public perception issue. The problem seems to be we are too diverse as a profession. The two major organizations have not been able to capture our essence or brand us correctly. It may come down to creating change through each patient/client in a grassroots fashion. I have been engaged in a lot of these perception talks recently and it seems no one has a great solution. Evidence In Motion seems to be doing one of the best jobs but all the research is slow going. Furthermore, for each quality PT who is doing things correctly there seem to be just as many NOT. If you search around youtube the PT content is dull and sometimes plain wrong/not evidence based. While youtube is not the only medium, it is a major one we are now facing. Do you have any more global solutions to our image complex?

Bo Babenko March 9, 2011 1:37 PM
New York NY

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About this Blog

    Dean Metz
    Occupation: Staff Development Specialist
    Setting: New York, NY – Newcastle Upon Tyne, Great Britain
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