This weekend was the Physiotherapy UK 2014 conference in Birmingham. For the first time ever, I presented a poster that had been peer-reviewed. It felt really good to be able to give something back to the profession from my work. It was the culmination of two years worth of work, studying the patients who had come through our falls clinic, analyzing the data, and writing up the report.
We wanted to know how effective we had actually been. We did alright actually. We managed to reduce the rate of falling by 81% in a cohort of known fallers. This was the first time presenting our work to professional colleagues who were not friends.
There were some fantastic discussions that took place! Many community physios were interested, asked some good and sometimes pointed questions, but all voiced being impressed with the work and took away paper copies (or smartphone photos) of the poster. I had a lively discussion with Professor John Cowan of Edinburgh University, who finished by saying, "It is one thing to have statistically significant results, which you do, but you also have meaningful results. That's brilliant!"
For a moment, I no longer felt like an imposter. We all have those moments when we think that everyone knows more than we do, what we have done is dumb luck, and at any moment somebody will point the finger and shout, "Phony!" The chief executive, Karen Middleton CBE, said as much during her speech that opened the conference. But just for a moment, I felt like I belonged and that my work over the past quarter century has been worthwhile.
Next week I'll tell you more about the themes and discussions at the conference.