The following candidate statement was written prior to LaDarius's election as secretary of the Student Assembly Board of Directors.
"Why do I have to go to physical therapy? All they do is make me move my arms and legs, and I have to stay in bed for 3 days because I’m hurting." To my surprise, my grandmother told me this one afternoon when I called to check on her. I weighed a few options: 1) Tell her that the exercises will help her get better and explain the science behind them; 2) Tell her that the therapist knows best and trust their expertise; or 3) Ask her to work with the therapist for my sake.
As I weighed my options, I begin to wonder why my grandmother did not understand the benefits of physical therapy. This also made me think about all the people I have met since beginning physical therapy school that were not quite sure what physical therapists (PTs) were or did (I have even met a few PTs who could not clearly define their role in patient care). I believe this is where WE, the students, must step up. We must educate, advocate, and advertise so that not only can WE clearly define/know our roles in patient care, but fellow practitioners and the public will know our role and utilize us as practitioners of choice.
To date, I serve or have served as Alabama's core ambassador, Alabama State University DPT class of 2014 treasurer, Alabama State University Student Physical Therapy Organization treasurer, Epsilon Tau Sigma PT representative, and Alabama Chapter Student Special-Interest Group interim president. As Alabama core ambassador, I have connected each physical therapist and physical therapist assistant program in Alabama and initiated student programming at our biannual conferences. As the treasurer for both my class and Student Physical Therapy Organization I have managed funds which facilitated sending classes to 2013 CSM and 2013 NSC. As the Epsilon Tau Sigma PT representative I have communicated, initiated, and participated in volunteer activities, as well as assisted future community involvement initiatives. Finally, as Alabama Student Special-Interest Group interim president, I have created a student special interest group, generated bylaws, and implemented professional policies and procedures.
My main goal as secretary is to ensure that every student knows and understands their available options. For example, scholarships, fundraising ideas, membership discounts/perks, professional networking, transitioning from student to new professional tips, research projects, etc.
The key to obtaining this goal is by continuing to utilize our current SABoD media outlets, but finding ways to tailor them toward each particular state/program. Trust me, I understand that everyone does not have the desire or motivation to take on a leadership position or even stay involved in APTA, but again I believe you should at least know what is available. I learned a long time ago that one of the most valuable traits a person can possess is the ability to do the things you have to do when they ought to be done, whether you like it or not.
P.S. If you were still wondering, I told my grandmother to work with the therapist for my sake.