With a plea from the Surgeon General for physicians to make an effort to address the opioid epidemic, timing could not be better to promote our profession! In previous posts, the importance of educating both patients and other health care professionals about how the goal should not be to be pain-free, but to get better – and that is what we do!
Using this to initiate the conversation, the door is open to educate the public about all the ways that physical therapy can be beneficial for any issue with mobility.
I know that I am not the only one who has had this conversation more time than I can count:
Innocent bystander: “So what do you do for work?”
Me (with enthusiasm): “I’m a physical therapist”
Poor schmuck response #1: “How great! I could really use some physical therapy, my knee hurts when I golf.”
Poor schmuck response #2: ”Oh yeah? My back has been hurting and I could really use a massage.”
As I smile and nod, and fight my eyes from rolling, I start educating about the profession of physical therapy, which generally leads to any bystanders or schmucks quickly finishing their drinks while I pontificate so they can have an excuse to go get refills.
While I exaggerate the dullness of my conversation skills, I do think that it is unfortunate that the general public does not know the level of education we receive, and all the ailments that we can treat, and all of the settings in which physical therapists can work. And I think it is the responsibility of each one of us to educate the public, and promote the profession as a whole.
While health care coverage is changing regularly, with no signs of slowing, physical therapy has an opportunity to be a bigger part of everybody’s lives. We need the general public to look to PTs to keep them healthy and mobile to keep their health care costs down. We need the public to understand the expertise that we have. This won’t happen unless we make it happen!
October is Physical Therapy Month! Use social media to get out the message – it’s free! Use hashtags so that your posts get seen by more people. There are several: #GetPT1st #TheresPTforThat #PTTransforms and simply #physicaltherapy.