Networking in Physical Therapy, what Fight Club taught me.
Networking is one the core values of the JetSet experience. It is a value that can enhance course understanding and expand a therapist’s understanding of their profession via interactions with fellow participants.
In the movie Fight Club, Edward Norton’s character, looked forward to his flights on an airplane. He realized of the countless hours spent on a trip, the most memorable involved networking with his “single serving friends” that sat next to him. His character (albeit twisted and cynical) goes on to meet a specific friend, Tyler Durden whom transforms his life forever. If you are physical therapist like me, you have a little bit of Ed Norton’s character in you. You have spent countless hours in school learning your craft and then additional hours in continuing education courses refining your skills. However, you realize that like his character, the journey is only part of the experience; the interactions with your colleagues are clearly as important.
Attending various continuing education courses over the years, I have realized that part of what made course experiences valuable was my interactions with colleagues. Attending a recent lecture on the DNS approach, I had questions about handholds that my classmates were able to critique and correct. Over the course of the one-day lecture, I found the interactions with my fellow colleagues bridged the gaps and made the class an even more meaningful experience. Additionally, networking with my colleagues during the course provided valuable clinical pearls that eventually lead to positive outcomes in the clinic.
Learning from my colleagues enriched my experience of the course content. However, networking during breaks and lunches also gaveme a better understanding of my profession. At a prior course, I learned how newly passed direct access law were affecting clinicians with regards to care and payment. In prior courses, I’ve even had the opportunity to meet international PTs whom discussed their practice in their respective countries For example, back pain patients check into the hospital for their symptoms in certain European countries & ACL patients can spend months rehabbing in the hospital in Japan! Having networked with my colleagues showed me how diverse our profession is internationally.
Networking has also illustrated how techniques can be utilized differently in specialties outside of orthopedics. In an MSIcourse I took a few years ago, I encountered therapists whom were utilizing the concepts learned on vestibular and neurologic patients.This brought to light how clinicians use“orthopedic” concepts in specialties not thought of as normally utilizing orthopedic skills.
Networking and interacting with many of my colleagues over the years has provided me with unique experiences that have enriched course content and broadened my understanding of our profession as a whole. In understanding the effect these experiences have had over the course of my career, I truly feel as lucky as Edward Norton’s character did on his plane when he met his friends. Looking back, if I had avoided these opportunities to network, my growth as a professional and a person surely would have been hindered. At your next class, remember to embrace your inner Edward Norton and reach out to your fellow colleagues. You may find that your class experience may be that much more beneficial.
Jay Bhatt is a Physical Therapist whom is an OCS and Published in JOSPT. He is one of the founders of JetSet Rehab Education.