Our Incredible Profession
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When I was in my first semester of school, I volunteered to treat patients at an interprofessional pro bono event named the Apopka Farmworkers Clinic. I was new, had never done something like this, so needless to say I was terrified. I even wondered if I would be of use, that's how unsure I was.
Fast-forward to the next pro bono clinic. I became part of the student leadership team to help advocate for our services and our patients.
I quickly noticed that there was not much clarity for the patients or other health care providers on what physical therapists do and how they can serve this community. This really struck me. I quickly set up a time to meet with my program director to figure out how to make this event truly interprofessional and meaningful for the patients and students. I wasn't the only one. Nursing, pharmacy, and medical students all voiced the need for an exchange of information among patients and volunteer providers.
A year later, my goal is to showcase what physical therapists can do, while also empowering physical therapy students to advocate for our patients and for our profession.
Serving as an advocate for this one clinic sparked an interest and passion for profession advocacy on a bigger level. I wanted to protect our profession and ensure our patients get the care they need and deserve, and today I'm doing just that. I'm proudly part of APTA's Student Assembly Advocacy Project Committee. Through the committee, I get to meet passionate individuals across the nation to bounce ideas around on how to enhance professional advocacy among students.
Today, I feel as passionate as ever, and I can't wait to continue to advocate and educate legislators, other health care providers, and especially the community and our patients about our incredible profession.
Want to share your APTA love story? Submit it here! Haven't had such an experience or moment? We encourage you to contact Kaylee Pobocik, SPT, Director of Membership, APTA Student Assembly Board of Directors to discover APTA value and opportunities.
Emi Gonzalez Luna, SPT, is a student at University of Central Florida and she serves on the APTA Student Assembly Advocacy Project Committee. You can connect with Emi on Twitter at @Emigonzalez_SPT.