Claire Peasley is a candidate for SPT delegate on the Student Assembly Board of Directors.
My physical therapy career began at The University of Liverpool, England. Eight years later my thoughts have evolved and I am more passionate than ever about how physical therapy can improve lives. Beyond helping just the individual in front of me, I am now looking towards improving lives on a population basis. I believe it is our professional duty to work towards this aim and that the best way to do this is to come together under one banner, APTA, to speak and act with a unified voice. That is why I am running for the position of SPT delegate.
My main aim as SPT delegate would be to decrease the barriers that currently prevent students from being active in professional activities. Student life is stressful, but it also engenders creativity and generates ideas, which makes it a perfect time to form ideals about how you would like “the system” to work. How many of us, while in the classroom or on clinical affiliation, have said, "That just doesn't make sense," simply to be told, "That's just the way things work."? This is why students should be involved in APTA activities. We need to raise our voices and help shape the system into one we enjoy working within, not one that we just put up with. Drawing from discussions with others and my own reflections, I believe the main barriers to students participating in professional activities are: the perceived time commitment, intimidation, and financial cost. My focus would be to tackle each of these 3 barriers separately to enable more students to become empowered within our profession. Because after all, it is OUR profession and OUR future; we need to start taking the reins.
My own professional engagement has undergone a steep learning curve. I grew up and practiced physical therapy in England, so 3 years ago I really did start at the beginning in terms of US health care and legislation. The recentness of my journey has given me the perspective necessary to guide others in their own endeavors. My background and experiences abroad also give me a unique point of view that I believe would be valuable within the Student Assembly. Integrating into a new culture has helped me develop an open mind, a penchant for diplomacy, and an ability to consider and value all opinions. My diplomacy was recently enhanced when I was asked to be the sole student and only nonphysician member of a committee tasked with selecting the new University president. Through this experience, I became well versed in representing a student body and tactfully promoting our profession. I have also demonstrated success in promoting student engagement by increasing our school’s NSC attendance last year from 4 students to 70.
I would be extremely grateful for the opportunity to use my passion and skills in order to raise the voice of students nationwide to shape the impact of our profession.