Derek Fenwick, PT, MBA, GCS (Portland, OR)
I have been an APTA member for nearly 15 years since my days as a student at Saint Louis University. The original reason I joined was simple: my professors told me I should.
I think that many of us have a similar story, a scenario where we listened to someone we trust and made a decision to join in something new. But getting started with something new is very different than sticking around.
My reason for my continued APTA membership has evolved from my original reason. What began as a professional responsibility has now become a very conscious choice. It is now an investment in my worldview, my personal interests, and my economic viability.
I remember the day I officially understood the full power of APTA. I was serving as an Oregon delegate at the 2009 APTA House of Delegates in Baltimore. The House is the highest decision-making body of APTA (think: a Congress made up of 400+ physical therapists from across the country). Each delegate is responsible for making decisions on issues that have far-reaching implications for the association and for the physical therapy profession.
The top discussion item was a revision for the APTA Code of Ethics for the Physical Therapist. This particular item was more personal than many others that the House takes on. We were debating and deciding the very standards that guide our daily practice.
Voice after voice rose to make their case. Heated disagreements broke out. Hour after hour of debate passed. And just as it looked too hard for us all to come together, we did it. Over 400 physical therapists had come together with 400 opinions to produce 1 outcome that we were all proud to share.
I realized at that moment that no matter how rough my day might be, how bad my boss could be, or how long I might go between jobs, the people of APTA would always be there.
Being an APTA member means you are never alone. Day after day, volunteers and staffers work on hundreds of issues that affect me and are nowhere on my radar. That alone is worth $400 a year to me [Editor's note: the average combined cost of national, chapter, and section dues is $468]. Add in the relationships I have formed that have advanced my career, and the value far exceeds the investment.
I am an APTA member for 1 simple reason: We can do more together than any 1 of us could ever do alone. We are stronger with you and we need your expertise.
Please join APTA.
Derek Fenwick, PT, MBA, GCS, is vice president of the Oregon Physical Therapy Association and the director of professional development at Infinity Rehab in Portland, Oregon. He tweets at @DerekFenwickPT.
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