Efosa L. Guobadia, PT, DPT is the founder of Physical Therapy Haven
ON this September 8th 2014, I want to take this time to wish everyone a happy World Physical Therapy Day! It is an honor and a pleasure to get the chance to celebrate the profession of Physical Therapy with so many of my professional brothers and sisters. We are lucky to work in a profession that is so energetic and dynamic and one that literally and figuratively touches so many people across the globe. Long lasting bonds are every day made between those who deliver care and those who receive that care. Journeys of health and overcoming adversity and symptoms are lived out daily. One of the things that I love about our profession is Hands and Words. We get to use our hands for manual interventions that include: mobilization, cueing, and guidance. We get to use our words to teach and educate, to motivate, to actively listen. It sometimes feels like many jobs in one, and that is precisely what makes it so special! One physical therapist that I admire very much, Cheryl Wardlaw, summed it up pretty well. “Other health clinicians, due to the nature of their job and duties, at times only get to spend 5 or 10 minutes with their patients. We PT’s we get to spend 30 to 45 to 60 minutes with our patients. We get relationships. They bring us chocolate chip cookies! I think that is a sweet way of saying that this profession of touch and talk is sometimes a novelty in a health care culture that all too often has its head down while avoiding the very contact that is crucial to healing. Our patients appreciate it when they experience different.
These experiences and relationships lead to ripples and at the end of the day that can change a life and can subsequently change the world. Follow me on this pathway: If you can change a person’s movement and function you can improve their quality of life and their potential to work more efficiently or work at all. If a person’s functional potentials and abilities are improved they can better support themselves and their family. The more families that are better off, the better off is that community in which the family lives. The better the collective communities lead to a better country. The stronger our countries will leader to a stronger and more wonderful world! We really can make a difference with each patient that we treat.
This past week I was in Guatemala City on behalf of Physical Therapy Haven and ATI MissionWorks along with a professional colleague of mine Josh D’Angelo, PT, DPT. I have now been to Guatemala seven times and this is Josh’s second time. We have spent time recently talking about how we can play our part in raising the basement and the ceiling of the profession in ways small and large. We believe that the first step is to bring together the wonderful professionals who compose our profession at both local and global levels. When we do this good things happen as styles and experiences are shared. In this recent trip in early September 2014 to Guatemala City we participated in a fusion of activities. We toured different rehabilitation sites across the city. We were struck with the similarities between our country and theirs and it reinforced to us what we already anticipated: that as a profession we have more in common than we have apart. It was impressive to see the rehabilitation hospital structure and how well the different disciplines: psychologists, nurses, PTs and MDs et al worked together to treat and address the symptoms and issues of the family as well as the patient. We were also made aware of some of the differences that exist and it brought to light some opportunities on how we can collaborate in the future. We also spent several days treating alongside with and presenting to local Physical Therapy professional and students. A highlight was getting the chance to spend time with the Guatemala Physical Therapy Association president Maria Soberanis-Reyes. Her efforts were crucial in bringing our trip together in Guatemala. It is important to reach out to the leaders and enthusiasts when you go to a new place. Maria classifies as both.
These ripples started in Guatemala and will continue there yet it cannot and must not stop there. International Connectivity is the name of the game. In honor of World Physical Therapy Day, it would be great if all PT’s everywhere took the time to reflect on where we have been and preflect on where we can go. What individual and collective steps can we start taking to achieve the strengthening and connecting of our profession? The internet has rendered communication more available. With different social media mediums now, the world really is becoming flat. A Physical Therapist from Norway can now easily connect with a Physical Therapist from New York. We have created the #globalPTconnect as a home for some of these conversations and connections. Beyond the internet, the obvious other options are participating in international travelling and service projects, as well as global education and teaching collaborations. Also consider going to WCPT in Singapore in May 2015 (link). I am aiming to be there
Our profession has come a good distance in its history, yet we still have more to go. The stronger we make our profession, the greater benefit it will be for those who practice it and those who we touch. Let’s make the decision to not act in isolation. It is not just about what I can do, or what you can do it. What is most important is what we can do together! It is our ability to network and collaborate that really matters, and it is that mindset that will help us lead the charge to making this a more functional world. I practice in the Unites States of America and we recently created a new professional Vision Statement. “Transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience”. That is one that can resonate worldwide everywhere and with everyone. And I know that there are so many other wonderful visions out there. Please share your countries vision statement either in the comments below or at the hashtags #worldPTDay and #globalPTconnect. Again it is a pleasure to have so many wonderful professional brothers and sisters worldwide. Happy World Physical Therapy Day.
Efosa is the Founder of Physical Therapy Haven. He received his B.S. in Kinesiology from Umass-Amherst, and his Physical Therapy Doctorate from the University of Scranton. He is driven by his love for this profession which allows us to use our hands and words to help others. The site contains rehabilitation resources geared towards rehab clinicians and it includes videos, study guides, as well as links to other useful sites.