The Monday Memo: 11/14/2016

The Monday Memo

November 14, 2016                                                                           PITT DPT STUDENTS

2016 PPTA Annual Conference

 

Two weekends ago several first-year DPT students and I traveled to the bucolic Lancaster County to volunteer at the 2016 PPTA Annual Conference, one of Pennsylvania’s largest annual continuing education conventions. The conference consisted of various poster and lecture-style platform presentations and exhibits, hosted by students, physical therapists, and notable professors from DPT programs around the country.

 

Our role as student volunteers consisted mainly of passing out contact hour sheets and informational pamphlets before and after our respective platform presentations that we were assigned to. We were fortunate in that while we were able to provide a helping hand to the PPTA community and assert our presence as Pitt students, we were still able to reap the benefits of the various educational opportunities around us in between our volunteer times. The particular lectures that I was able to attend were “Rehabilitation in MS: Promoting Functional Recovery and Neuroplasticity” and “Medical Screening for the Physical Therapist: The Sherlock Holmes Approach.” Though the first lecture was slightly outside of our current scope of practice as first year students, the latter was particularly relevant as it highlighted the importance of a thorough screening process in qualifying physical therapists as first contact practitioners. Although we do not typically make medical diagnoses of potential “red flag” pathologies that might warrant imaging or extensive medical work-up, our extensive screening process allows us to rule in or out the likelihood of those pathologies, and therefore the need for further imaging or medical referral. This process decreases the imaging-as-default technique that physicians tend to favor, resulting in decreased costs and increased overall efficiency of the health care continuum.

 

Advancing the field of Physical Therapy via increased direct access has been a recurring theme in Pitt’s DPT program and throughout the field in general, but there are other less-emphasized methods by which the field can be progressed that I picked up on during the exhibition tables in particular. Most of these tables were showcasing their PT-related products, such as visual feedback machines to work on balance, as well as apps to facilitate extracurricular therapy for patients during their period of treatment and after discharge. In addition to physical therapists’ evolution within the clinic in terms of the progression of our abilities and general scope of practice, we should also be thinking about how we can improve the overall therapeutic process for both patients and therapists. This can be accomplished by emphasizing creativity and intuition in our practice in ways similar to the above examples. We, especially as new and young practitioners with relatively minimal preconceptions and clinical habits, need to ask ourselves: what is the current state of Physical Therapy practice? How can we raise the bar upon our entry into the field? How can we apply the ideas and strengths of our generation to advance the field of physical therapy?

 

It is critical, therefore, to expose ourselves early on in our educational and professional careers to the field’s current level of thinking; the variety of ideas, techniques, and technologies circulating now; in order to get us thinking about how we can push our practice past the current status quo. The Annual Conference was a great way to get us thinking in that context.

 

A special thanks to Connor McGee, Doug Reeves, Rhadika Shah, and Ryan Thompson for making the long drive to join me in this experience.

 

Brooks Kenderdine, DPT Class of 2019

 

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Check the Calendar for Class Schedules and Events

Social Media Updates
  • #DPTstudent –  WEDNESDAYS , 9-10pm EST!   Check out #DPTstudent page for details!
  • Unite Physical Therapy Students – If you haven’t yet, please check out the “Doctor of Physical Therapy Students” Facebook page. More than 9,500 students have already joined!
  • Our own page! Pitt Physical Therapy, thanks to the Social Media Team, has created an official PittPT Facebook page!
  • #SolvePT (meets on Tuesdays Twitter from 9-10pm EST)
November 14, 2016 |

The Monday Memo: 11/8/2016

The Monday Memo

November 8, 2016                                                                           PITT DPT STUDENTS

Rock the Block Experience

The professional duty of a physical therapist extends beyond the walls of a clinic or hospital.  Physical therapists also have a role in advocacy and education about health, wellness, disease and disability management.  I joined several second year DPT students to act as health educators and advocates at the “Rock the Block” event in Squirrel Hill this October.  The event offered an outdoor market, live music, and a wellness fair hosted by Pitt’s APhA-ASP Chapter.  The proceeds from the drinks available for purchase were donated to benefit Uncover Squirrel Hill, Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition, and the American Diabetes Association.

 

While the majority of the “rocking” that occurred was provided by the live musicians, we were “rolling” with students from a variety health disciplines to educate the public about the prevention and management of diabetes. We represented the University of Pittsburgh’s schools of physical therapy, pharmacy, nursing, and dentistry and highlighted how each profession could be involved in the prevention and management of diabetes.

 

At the physical therapy tent, we challenged the public to play in a “Myth or Fact” trivia game that included general questions about diabetes, exercise, and physical therapy’s role in diabetes management.  For those not interested in participating in trivia, we brought foam pads for balance activities, which, by the end of the night, was quite the competitive event among the children. We educated participants about common impairments associated with diabetes, such as loss of foot sensation and balance deficits, and encouraged those with the disease to be vigilant about checking their feet for cuts or other wounds.  Several participants even received a monofilament foot screening to test for foot sensation.  We handed out pedometers for those who participated in the trivia or the balance games after discussing the importance of exercise and daily activity.

 

The majority of people who came by our tent had no idea that physical therapists are essential medical professionals for the treatment and management of diabetes.  This lack of knowledge about the assistance our profession is able to offer to the public for the treatment of diabetes and other diseases emphasizes the importance of physical therapists participating in health promotion events such as “Rock the Block”.  The community needs to be educated about the broad scope of physical therapy practice, and how physical therapists are qualified to help patients with more than joint pain.  Future physical therapists need to recognize the need to educate members of our community about what physical therapists are capable to treating and how physical therapists are essential allies in preventing the development of diseases associated with poor lifestyle choices and inactivity.

 

Thank you to Kathryn Accetturo, Luke Novosel, and Julian Vesnovsky for organizing and working this event along with me.  We had a great time educating the public about physical therapy’s role in the treatment and management of diabetes and look forward to participating in events such as this in the future.

 

Emily Barno, DPT Class of 2018

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Check the Calendar for Class Schedules and Events

Social Media Updates
  • #DPTstudent –  WEDNESDAYS , 9-10pm EST!   Check out #DPTstudent page for details!
  • Unite Physical Therapy Students – If you haven’t yet, please check out the “Doctor of Physical Therapy Students” Facebook page. More than 9,500 students have already joined!
  • Our own page! Pitt Physical Therapy, thanks to the Social Media Team, has created an official PittPT Facebook page!
  • #SolvePT (meets on Tuesdays Twitter from 9-10pm EST)
November 8, 2016 |