Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes
The Greeks defined love in 6 categories.1 Physical Therapy is a profession consisting of 2 of them, "philia": sincere, brotherly love, and "pragma": a committed, long-standing love.
It was a dark and stormy season. In the most difficult semester of physical therapy school, we had a shimmering day off the week of an anatomy exam and practical.
This was optimal timing for hitting the books. So I thought.
Before that particular day, we got an email asking for student volunteers interested in traveling to Springfield for the Illinois Chapter's state advocacy day where physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students of physical therapy would be lobbying for legislative issues impacting our profession. And although I was looking forward to a much needed day off, I volunteered.
Our professional development classes kept mentioning "under direct access" or "if you're a patient's first point of contact" when discussing red flags or referral to other providers.
I knew this opportunity was bigger than our anatomy exam. And I knew my need for a break would have to wait for another day, my profession needed me.
Before dawn, my classmates and I piled into a car with fellow professionals from our state. You could say that we were intimidated, sharing a ride with 3 of Illinois' most active APTA members, including 2 past presidents. The whole ride was a lesson in the history of our profession, the hard work done in Illinois up to this point, and the future of physical therapy.
When we arrived in Springfield we met our state representatives. We visited their offices as constituents in the doctor of physical therapy program at Northwestern University and asked if they knew how physical therapy is fundamental to battling the opioid crisis, giving patients a choice in their care, and overall health and wellness of our communities. It was amazing seeing physical therapy veterans at work, advocating for our profession in the democratic process.
Coming home, I knew I had to stay involved.
I was part of a planning team for our region's APTA Student Assembly National Advocacy Dinner, where 70+ students from across Illinois heard the Direct Access for Physical Therapy HB 4643 went from the House to the Senate. Talk about perfect timing!
Saying yes to opportunities provided by professors and peers and getting others involved is a continuing process.
My love for physical therapy, unity of our organization, and the "philia," brotherly love, for my patients and peers was sparked by choosing to get involved and stepping out of my comfort zone.
I am looking forward to many years in this profession and growing "pragma," as demonstrated by those paving the way.
1. Burton N. These are the 7 types of love. Psychology Today website. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hide-and-seek/201606/these-are-the-7-types-love. Published 2016. Accessed February 7, 2019.
Kathryn McLeland, SPT, Northwestern University. You can connect with Kathryn on Twitter at @katiemac_SPT.
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.