In Ann's Shoes: APTA CSM 2016

This week's blog is a co-posting effort, as most of our team was at CSM this past weekend. If it sounds familiar, it's because this blog originally appeared on Ann's (our Director of Brand Marketing) blog, here. But we wanted to give everyone a chance to see some of the awesome things they missed at CSM. We'll be back to our regularly-scheduled patient retention postings next week!

In the meantime, you can also check out our latest Tuesday Tip, where Ryan talks about using hard data at both the therapist level and the patient level to proactively monitor engagement at your clinics over time.

-The Strive Labs Team


As I unpack and do laundry and try to readjust to real life again, I keep thinking about the themes that ran through all of my conversations this past week at APTA CSM. I feel like it’s really important to reflect on not just the content we learn at conferences of this scale, but also the 30,000 foot view of where our profession is and where we’re heading.

Here’s a look at what sticks out in my mind:

Patients Are People

This could not have been any more beautifully illustrated by two brave women who stood in front of a room full of physical therapists to share their very personal stories of the good, the bad, and the ugly they have experienced over the years in their journeys as patients. In the @Womens_ PT section, a session moderated by @Jerry_DurhamPT, Erin (@mrsjacksoda) and Lisa (@LISAMACNCHEESE) shared their frustrations with being looked at as a body part or a diagnosis rather than as a whole human being. These women gave simple suggestions that sometimes get lost in the healthcare shuffle, such as, “Listen to your patients” and “Tell your patients and their families the truth” and my favorite “If you don’t know, just don’t make shit up.” We would be well served to remember that interacting with other human beings requires a biopsychosocial model of care. Patients are whole people, with fears and anxieties and families and careers and everything else that plays into their journey through the healthcare system.

As we shift as a profession to caring more about population health and early intervention, we need to keep in mind that true health and wellness involve a lot more than just exercise. We need to think about all of the aspects of wellness that affect all of us as human beings.

Just as we need to integrate care to treat the whole patient, we need to integrate our profession to truly move forward.

Even though this was the Combined Sections Meeting, I hardly saw my colleagues who are members of different sections. As important as it is to learn from experts in your own area of interest or section, it is important that we take the opportunity to co-sponsor sessions and learn from each other. I love when the Section of Women’s Health can co-sponsor sessions – everyone has a pelvis! And we treat humans with pelvises (pelvi?) in Acute Care and Home Health and Sports and Private Practice. There was much discussion of having a multisection patient panel next year. How fantastic would it be to hear the stories of patients who entered the system in Acute Care and finished in Sports PT. We need to make this a reality, and integrate our profession as we integrate our treatment of our patients.

Millennials are confident (and anxious and worried and exhausted and overwhelmed) just like the rest of us.

I had the pleasure of presenting alongside @Jerry_DurhamPT, @ptbise, @TJ_Janicky, @brookemcintosh, and @laurenkDPT for the Private Practice Section on Mentoring Millennials. We had a surprisingly good turnout for the Saturday 3-5pm time slot up against a few other heavy hitters in concurrent sessions. We had a lively discussion of student loan debt, salaries, negotiation skills, ideas on bringing business education into DPT programs, and more. Additionally, I had the opportunity to present for SOWH alongside @NicoleStoutPT, @LisaSaladin, and @GR8Seminars. In that interactive discussion, I was struck by the way that perfectionism, fear, and anxiety are affecting our DPT Students and new professionals.

In both of my sessions, I was truly struck by how we need to continue to mentor our students and new professionals in not only clinical skills, but also life skills such as confidence, ability to take risks, ability to negotiate successfully by preparing with data, and resiliency to keep going even in the face of obstacles. I am so excited for our future as a profession, and I am encouraged by the passion and dedication of the students who were present at CSM.

Did you hear some of the same themes running through CSM last week? What would you add?

Let us know via @strive_labs or on Facebook!

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Ann Wendel



Physical Therapist, Writer, Speaker, Consultant, Kettlebell Lover. Director of Brand Marketing for @strive_labs and @APTAtweets Media Spokesperson.