’Tis the season for changing leaves, hot cider, pumpkin-spiced everything, and, of course, physical therapists. That’s because the APTA named October National PT Month—and they couldn’t have picked a better month. (It is, after all, when I was born. But that’s beside the point.) The true reason for celebrating this October is the wonderful work you and your colleagues do to promote health and wellbeing, restore and maintain function, and improve people’s lives—all without the use of potentially dangerous medication. According to the APTA, physical therapy is “the safer way to manage pain,” and we couldn’t agree more. So, in addition to partying it up this month in honor of your profession, let’s also use this time to unite behind a common purpose: raising awareness about the good you do in the world. In other words, let’s encourage payers, providers, and patients to #ChoosePT.
Here are four ideas to get you started:
1. Take to the Interwebs.
In addition to following @MoveForwardPT on Twitter and Facebook—and liking and sharing their pro-PT messages—you can also share the APTA-approved PSAs: “Treating Pain Takes Teamwork” and “Choose Physical Therapy for Safe Pain Management” on your company website as well as your personal and company social media channels. No need to stick with those, though, if you’re feeling inspired to write your own pro-PT posts. In that case, get creative—and get your messages seen by everyone in your social networks. The more eyes on these, the better. If you’re looking for the perfect photo op, consider donning a #ChoosePT shirt or holding a #ChoosePT sign and then publishing your photo using the ChoosePT hashtag. You can also email your pics to the APTA PR team, and they’ll share their faves throughout the month.
2. Leverage data.
You’ve no doubt heard us discuss the important role data plays in ensuring the future success of the physical therapy profession. Well, now’s the perfect opportunity to put that data to use (or to begin collecting it if you haven’t already done so). After all, with all the attention the opioid epidemic is garnering at the moment, physical therapists have a perfect platform from which to speak about their own non-pain-pill contributions to health and wellbeing—you know, the ones that don’t cause drug dependence and dangerous long-term side effects.
Do some research.
If you’re looking for a place to start, consider downloading these two APTA resources on the topic:
- Beyond Opioids: How Physical Therapy Can Transform Pain Management to Improve Health, and
- The Opioid Epidemic: What PTs and PTAs Need to Know.
Then, start using your knowledge—and your data—to tell a compelling story to payers, providers, and patients about how the work you do is a better, safer alternative that produces excellent outcomes. The APTA suggests hosting an info session for non-PT providers where they can learn about the role of a physical therapist in pain management. You could also host one for potential patients—with some healthy beverages and snacks. Think of it as a community event that doubles as an educational session.
3. Participate in PT Day of Service.
What better way to celebrate the profession than by uniting to do even more good in the world? The 2018 Global PT Day of Service takes place Saturday, October 13. Therapists around the globe will contribute in all sorts of ways—from hosting community events and volunteering at pro bono clinics to cleaning up neighborhood parks and starting clothing or canned food drives. Not sure where to start? Check with a local ambassador to find community events that are already on the books in your neck of the woods.
4. Get inspired.
With declining reimbursements and increasing administrative burdens, it can be difficult to really get pumped about the state of the profession—let alone the state of health care—right now. Well, it’s all about perspective, and there are still plenty of positive things to focus on in the physical therapy industry—and where it’s heading. To help you get inspired, we’ve collected some quotes from one of our favorite physical therapists about what the profession means to her:
Meredith Castin, PT, DPT | Contributing Writer for WebPT and Founder of the Non-Clinical PT
What does it mean to you to be a PT?
Being a PT means I have the opportunity make a positive change in people’s lives. In my specific case, that means giving a voice and a roadmap to physical therapy professionals who want to take unconventional and non-clinical career paths.
What attracted you to the profession in the first place?
I have always loved helping people and improving others’ lives, and was drawn to the idea of alleviating people’s pain by giving them something inherently healthy: exercise. I'll always love the optimism and collaborative nature embodied by physical therapy professionals!
What you would like to see for the future of the industry?
I would love to see the physical therapy profession (including our schools and professional organizations) embracing and celebrating the idea of PTs and PTAs working in tech, business, leadership, innovation, and telehealth roles. Clinically speaking, I'd love to see less focus on productivity and more focus on quality care, and [I’d love] for burnout to be addressed head-on. Last, but not least, I'd love for our debt-to-income ratio to improve significantly!
What would you like current and future PTs and PTAs to know?
Being a PT or PTA means being able to improve others’ lives, and there are so many ways you can do that. From treating clinically to pursuing a career in advocacy, research, technology, or leadership, this is such an exciting time to be in our profession! No matter which path you choose for your career, it's important to embrace your unique gifts. When you combine your education and experience with your inherent strengths and passions, you'll naturally make the world a better place!
Have your own answers to these questions that you would like to share in honor of National PT Month? Enter them below in the comment section of this post. We may just publish a few on our social media channels.