Professional duty is defined as “the commitment to meeting one’s obligations to provide effective physical therapy services to patients/clients, to serve the profession, and to positively influence the health of society.” Professionalism, in terms of behavior, actions, and perception, are all central to a successful physical therapist. Two of the areas I will focus on discussing are involvement in professional opportunities and taking pride in one’s profession.
Involvement in professional opportunities, in accordance with sample indicator #4, is an area that I try to incorporate, but is certainly an area for further improvement. Perhaps the prime example of my involvement in professional opportunities is my attendance at Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) in both 2016 and 2017. Because CSM is the biggest professional meeting, for research, clinical, and student physical therapists alike, attending the event allows participation in numerous educations, networking, and professional growth events. Through my participation at CSM in the past 2 years, I have made positive relationships with students from other universities, clinicians from around the United States, and prominent researchers from various countries. I constantly hear of and heed the fact that the “physical therapy world is very small,” so having opportunities, such as CSM, to meet with and discuss with individuals within my future profession are indispensible.
A second example of my involvement in professional opportunities can be seen in my attendance at and participation in optional educational sessions and lectures that our program provides. For example, I have been a consistent attendant at our programs Skyped “Third-Thursday” events as well as many other professional meetings, open houses, and events hosted through our campus. I have always heard and lived by the mantra “90% of life is just showing up.” I think this holds true for professional events, as well as class activities: if you at least attend the event, you will be likely to listen, take in information, and provide to the discussion. The challenge for growth, with regards to this mantra is not just showing up, but making your presence known through action and activity. This is something I work at, but could still improve upon. My plan moving forward is to come to such events with idea of things I hope to gain, beforehand, so that I can better gauge my learning and can ask any questions that might improve my participation. The second point with professional duty involves taking pride in one’s profession, in accordance with sample indicator #7. Taking pride can take several forms, including advocating for physical therapy as a treatment and intervention, being an active member of the APTA, and being active in promoting events that benefit the promotion of physical therapy. The health screening events that I organized and participated in were centered on the idea of “pride” for physical therapy. Aside from the event in October, itself, working to promote awareness of physical therapy as a profession, we utilized the opportunity of the health screening to discuss and educate the community members about what physical therapists do, and how we can help to better the health and wellness of our communities. One of the most memorable and “proud” moments I have had with regards to my future profession, was the discussion with Dr. Ben Fung. Dr. Fung does such an excellent job of advocating for the profession, and his pride for physical therapy is apparent, contagious, and inspiring. He empowered us, through his enthusiasm, eloquence, and knowledge, to be proponents for ourselves, realizing our potential and embracing our profession. Although the week that Dr. Fung presented on was an emotionally, physically, and psychologically draining one (with numerous classes and tests occurring) I left the lecture with a better attitude, a smile on my face, and a completely renewed sense of purpose.
Artifact - CSM Center For the Intrepid My classmate and friend, Trace, is the one who found out and communicated the opportunity for us students to travel and visit the Center For the Intrepid (CFI) in San Antonio, TX. The CFI is the nations best rehabilitation institution, and caters to military personnel who have acquired amputation through combat. Although we almost weren't able to get onto Fort Sam Houston (the military base where the center is located) due to military clearance problems, they were very diligent at making the experience possible, and were able to get us in. Overall, I was in awe of the technology, expertise, and dedication of the facility and employees. I had heard about the CIF, and even Skyped with one of the centers PTs in my undergrad, however to see it, in person, was incomparable. The opportunity provided me with the chance to meet with other professionals from a variety of disciplines and is one I will not soon forget!