With any profession, continuing education is vital to make sure you are constantly pushing yourself to be better and more efficient with your job. As physical therapists, if you are not continuing to pursue knowledge to enhance your treatment skills then you are doing a disservice to your patients. The human body is extremely complex, and science is always changing. Techniques/philosophies that were used 10 years ago can greatly vary from what is seen as common practice today. As the saying goes, if you are the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. It has always made sense to me that the best way to learn is to seek out those who are doing what you want to do.
Finding a mentor willing to teach you can seem like a daunting task, but most people at the top of their profession are happy to share their knowledge. For us as physical therapists, this means not just seeking out continuing education courses but also finding other therapists to shadow on our own time. This was something I did a lot when I first became a therapist as I wanted to become confident in my ability to get people better and help them achieve their goals. I spent many hours of my own time watching other therapists treat, amazed by the techniques they were using and the results they were getting. Now that I have found a few mentors to learn from, I enjoy taking continuing education courses with them that push me to be better and challenge my beliefs.
I am currently enrolled in a series of courses to become a Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist. These courses usually span 3 weekends and are taught by Phoenix Manual Therapy. Phoenix Manual Therapy is mainly run by Tim Fearon who is one of the most well-known physical therapists in Arizona. Tim is a master of his craft and has over 40 years of experience treating patients. The company consists of other great clinicians such as Pablo Ruiz, Cheri Hodges and Jesse Elis. They are all passionate about bettering the profession by educating physical therapists of all levels of experience. Whenever I attend these courses, it forces me to challenge my treatment beliefs and become comfortable with new techniques and a different way of thinking. The courses by PMT are the best con-ed courses I have ever taken, and they help me become a better healthcare provider for my patients. There is no greater joy than having someone tell you that you helped them achieve their goals and changed their lives for the better.
My challenge to you is to not be complacent. Whether you are a healthcare provider, an accountant, a lawyer, a teacher, it does not matter; do not become complacent. It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routine and just go through the motions, especially as our lives continue to get busier. As human beings we should always be striving to grow and help others. It doesn’t cost anything to be a good person, but it will cost you to invest in yourself. In my experience, no matter the cost, investing in yourself is never a bad idea.