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6 TEDTalks to Inspire Rehab Therapists

We’re in for some inspiring sessions and discussions at this years Ascend. See this list of TED talks to inspire rehab therapists in the meantime, here!

Kylie McKee
5 min read
September 4, 2019
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Right now, our office is buzzing with excitement: in less than a month, we’ll gather in Minneapolis for our sixth annual Ascend business summit. And if Ascends of years past were any indication, we’re in for some seriously inspiring sessions and motivating discussions. This inspired me—avid watcher of TEDTalks—to put together a list of TED videos that should raise the spirits of any physical therapist, occupational therapist, and speech-language pathologist. Here are some faves:

1. How to Have a Good Conversation - Celeste Headlee

If you knew exactly what your patients were thinking, I’m guessing it’d make your job as a therapist a whole lot easier. After all, a patient’s thoughts and perceptions can have a huge impact on his or her therapy success. But unless you have telepathic abilities, that’s much easier said than done. However, you can learn a lot about a person just by taking the time to listen—I mean, really listen—to what he or she is saying.

Being a good listener is the cornerstone of building rapport with anyone. Unfortunately, worrying about the good-listener qualities we’re taught (e.g., making eye contact, repeating back what you heard, etc.) can sometimes distract us from actually listening. (Talk about a contradiction!) This is the argument journalist Celeste Headlee makes, anyway. Fortunately, she also provides us with great advice on how to be a better conversationalist based on what she’s learned through her years of work in public radio.

2. Physical Therapy is Boring - Cosmin Mihaiu

If there’s one universal experience for all PTs, it’s the difficulty of getting patients to stick to their home exercise programs. In this TEDTalk, Cosmin Mihaiu, CEO and co-founder of MIRA Rehab, discusses how gamifying physical therapy exercises can help patients not only complete their HEPs, but also actually look forward to them. 

3. The Physical Activity Paradox - Arto Pesola

It’s no surprise that way too many people spend the vast majority of their day sitting down. As experts in physiology, PTs are well aware of the detriments of physical inactivity. In this TEDx Talk, author and exercise physiology researcher Arto Pesola discusses the way modern culture praises health and fitness while simultaneously discouraging folks from improving their health in whatever way they can—and how we can combat that way of thinking.

4. A Doctor's Touch - Abraham Verghese

Physical therapists have the benefit of being a very physical discipline. As an often hands-on care type, physical therapy is at an advantage over other disciplines that require less physical contact. However, technology—while enabling providers to deliver a higher level of care—can often shift the focus off of the patient and onto data points on a screen, and PTs aren’t immune to this trend. In this TEDTalk, Dr. Abraham Verghese shares his experience with retaining a more physical element to examination and discusses the impact it has on his patients.

5. A Portrait of the Patient Experience - Ted Meyer

At a young age, Ted Meyer was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease, which inspired his artistic motivations. Now, he communicates the patient experience of pain, frustration, and adversity through his art and advocates for people who have undergone physical trauma.

6. Health Care Should Be a Team Sport - Eric Dishman

Collaborative care networks aren’t a unique concept. In fact, we’ve talked quite a bit about the importance of establishing connected care teams. And it’s not just a matter of convenience—it’s a matter of safety. As medical tech specialist Eric Dishman explains during this TEDTalk, 80% of medical errors are caused by miscommunication and a lack of coordination among healthcare providers. Dishman also uses his own experience as a patient as a basis for his ideas on how to better connect providers across disciplines.

Feeling inspired? I hope so! If you feel like sharing your thoughts or have some favorite TEDTalks of your own, drop a line in the comment section below.


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