On Friday, June 14, 2013, I, with a few of my classmates and career PTs, was a proud representative of the APTA at the American Medical Association’s Medical Student Section Annual Meeting. The APTA purchased a promotional booth in order to boost awareness about the physical therapy profession to medical students.
While the attendance of medical students was low due to other scheduled speakers, I met several medical professionals who were attending the meeting and also promoting boothes.
One such person was a medical student named Shiv Gaglani. He was advocating for the use of The Smartphone Physical. If you visited the website, you can see how advantageous these apparatuses are. If you did not go to the website, I will tell you the Smartphone Physical is an onsite, iPhone diagnostic tool for health professionals. I was able to use the blood pressure cuff, ophthalmoscope and the pulse oximeter. All three were easy to use and the readouts were perfect. I cannot overstate how amazed I was at this technology. There are so many scenarios where this technology can be used. I cannot wait to see what medGaget produces next.
Shiv also is the co-founder and CEO of Osmosis.org. This is a terrific website/smartphone application designed to help medical students study for everything from tests to USMLE. While we both lamented about the amount of information health professional students needed to recall at any given moment, Shiv and I talked about how useful the application was for PT students, and I promised to promote the app to my fellow students.
This experience reminded me of my time in the fitness industry manning boothes for my former employer Fitness Experts, advocating products and in general, talking fitness to like-minded people. The experience was invaluable because it forced me to hone my skills speaking with people I did not know and building relationships. The difference is, I am advocating for an entire profession. As the health services world becomes smaller and smaller, PTs have to be able to advocate and educate other professionals on our expertise and value when treating patients. No matter how small the audience, that should always be the first goal when interacting with health professionals especially physicians.
I met one other person whom I found a great source of information. Adella Deacon is a DPT who transitioned recently to JD from Kent Law School. We are both career changers, so her advice on changing from physical therapy to law was extremely helpful. I asked Adella why she maintained her PT license as well as her law license and she just answered simply that the urge to help people takes many forms and she found maintaining her PT license helped her stay in touch with the health community.
I hope to continue to attend events such as this because I never know what person or experience will present itself to me. It also helps maintain the professional aspects of my life that were pushed aside when I became a student again. Sometimes I lose sight of the experiences I have had outside of school because I am always studying or reading or sleeping, but this was the perfect event to jar my memory and reinvigorate my professional skills.