Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The cure for all New Professional ills... Belize

Hello all,

As the title would suggest, the blog has hit a lull because I have been taking some much needed R&R, three nights to be specific. It would have been longer, if only NPs accumulated PTO a little faster or did not have to use it quickly on things like conferences, job interviews, and hangovers...

Joking aside, I do not want to turn this into a travel blog. That is what my nonproductive blog is for. But I will say that meeting people with incredibly different lifestyles, cultures, and perspectives can do wonders for your resolve and productivity. It turns out to be a funny contrast between making me want to run from responsibility (most notably to tropical destinations) and reminding me how passionate I am about my reasons for putting my nose to the grindstone. I cannot say that the appeal of 6 months or a year of travel did not hit me hard, but I really do see the importance of working for change within our profession and culture more clearly.

So if you want to read some travel ramblings, read from the link above. And if you're waiting for the next NP blog, keep waiting. It should happen soon and be about a concept on the horizon within the House of Delegate to promote NP involvement in APTA leadership on a non-voting level... I hope enumerate the reasons I believe this to be a horrible idea.

Cheers, or perhaps Kampai, Ben

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A challenging situation and a dangerous subject matter

I imagine some of the other NPs out there have more experience on this one than I do. I've been with the same employer for going on 4 years, ever since I graduated. So now I'm weighing my options and considering moving to a different company. How on earth do you discretely have conversations with your potential "next" employer when you're at work 8:30-5? I have a 30 minute lunch break, a student, and about zero privacy. Don't get me started on my utter lack of paid time off, in the event I actually make it to the interview stage. Does one call in sick? Schedule a day off without explanation? Lie? I have a knee-jerk, honesty response which could get me in trouble soon. Not to mention there are all sorts of inadvisable things about writing this type of blog in the first place.

I see the risks of putting this information out on the interwebs. I'm banking on the benefits outweighing those risks. But in fact, I'm happy to report it's getting a bit more treacherous! The Move It Blog is up to 75 visitors and counting. It's even getting some attention from APTA staff, and no, not just my ex-roommate ;o)

My philosophy is that we are in an age where there is no sense in not having a commonality of resources and shared experiences. I love being a PT, especially a neuro-PT! I take the opportunities before me for advancing my clinical expertise and trying to foster leadership cred, but that isn't always enough. As New Professionals, we have unique stressors. I would like to think that this blog will eventually give voice (and not just my own) to remedies for, or at least ways to handle, that kind of stress.

Something that would help me would be a periodically updated list of PT negotiation skills and advice for job hunting in a depressed economy. Any know any? ... Bueller?

Back to the resumé ~ ben

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Blog on Beginnings

So, I believe a simultaneous advantage and disadvantage of being an NP is the concept of a fresh start. Perhaps it's a byproduct of being a "not burnt out" PT. We are in a field with huge opportunities. The strength of our position is that each new thought, each emerging initiative is an invitation to recreate our careers. For me, PT nerd that I am, that's an exciting idea. I think I may be coming to the realization, though, that that ability to change paths might also be a contributor to physical therapy burn out.

We have these opportunities, we're exposed to these new ideas and we either incorporate some parts, ignore it all, or, potentially, change everything... So on some level, our choices become a) become insular, b) become flippant, or c) add something to an ever-shrinking plate. oy!~

So because this blog, admittedly, has become self-centered, what are my beginnings? What is out there to to be ignored, incorporated, or added? Clearly, the supervisor position I've talked about in the past is not working out. (Hurray! for a door closed :o) To begin or not begin: Last night I hosted/moderated a panel discussion on 'what's wrong with rehab..." The title was obviously a bit different but the objective was clear: Talk about the problems-> discuss what should be done. The panelists, all at once stimulating, challenging, and intimidating, spoke clearly on 3 themes:

Theme 1) The way we validate what we do, does not validate what we do.
Theme 2) The lack of validation, however unintentional, is jeopardizing everything we stand for, e.g. improvements in health, clinical consistency, and, well, beneficence (the idea we are good--in fact better--than substitutes).
Theme 3) Advocacy is our shot at redemption. And I chose the word redemption carefully. We went wrong. As a profession, yes, but within a flawed industry, emphatically yes, we went wrong. To not protest is to consent by acquiescence. The fight was never downhill, or really even level, but the longer the status quo holds, the steeper our path to correcting the wrongs.

The beginning I now face, once again, is the question of how to address a demonstrated need for change. I would like to build a resource center for patients and professionals who are not satisfied with the status quo. I want to empower people to identify the flaws, articulate the arguments, and champion the cause of process improvement in health care/rehabilitation. How do we tackle the huge problems as New Professionals? I know it's wrong to wait on others to take action! It's just so hard to take a breath and make the leap when we have soooooo many possible roads to travel.

I would like to end with a fantastic quote from Mark Twain that I worked into the panel: "All large political doctrines are rich in difficult problems -- problems that are quite above the average citizen's reach. And that is not strange, since they are also above the reach of the ablest minds in the country; after all the fuss and all the talk, not one of those doctrines has been conclusively proven to be the right one and the best."

word. Ben