‘Useless. Totally Useless'
Last week, I watched the four-part video series on the ADVANCE website where Paul Rockar Jr., PT, DPT, MS, and current APTA president, talks about the challenges facing the profession. He is spot on, in my opinion, and a reasonable, rationale voice in terms of what is needed right now. I strongly encourage a listen if you haven't heard him in person. He voices repeatedly the need for the profession to prove the value of what we do. This need was verified this weekend.
I was visiting a relative in Florida and spent a morning in the community pool. As usual, the chatter among the attendees focused on healthcare. For a change, it was all about physical therapy. People were sharing their "nightmare" stories about PT. I was tempted to jump in right away, but then I thought I would shut up and listen.
"I was left alone on a table for half an hour. When someone finally came in and asked how I was doing, I said I was leaving. They said they were short-staffed."
"I had physical therapy for my ankle. They didn't do anything! They iced it, gave me a sheet of exercises and sent me home. I could've done that!"
"They put my hand in this warm sand thing. That was it. What was that for?"
"My wife hurt her back. The last place I'd ever take her is physical therapy!"
"They don't do anything, really."
"Useless, totally useless to go to PT."
This wasn't just one practice being discussed; it was the profession on the whole. Five people, each with a bad story about physical therapy. Granted, the pool chatter can be a game of who can outdo each other's story, but this wasn't who can top whom. This was unanimous.
I think we need to heed Mr. Rockar's advice.