Brief thoughts on continuing ed

Riverfront Park

I think I viewed this conference differently than I did the ones I attended as a 1st and 2nd year student, largely because I have a caseload and it isn’t theoretical or hypothetical anymore. I did walk away with some things that I’ll either do differently or at least try for some of my patients, which is good. But as several seasoned PT’s said (~10 yrs of experience), the course (and most they have attended) focused a lot on the etiology and some on the diagnosing, but treatment got the short end of the stick relatively.

I think what I would like to see in future courses I take is more reference to the evidence out there (I’m not saying she did not base her presentation on evidence, just that I want more references to it) – e.g. “for diagnosing, these special tests are for X, but are A sensitive, B specific, and have reliability/validity of Q [especially when recommendations are made to modify the tests for an older population]. For treatment, here is what is used generally, and here is evidence for it [strong, weak, mixed, whatever].”

I mentioned the new clinical practice guidelines for hip OA to her during the break (nice work Cibulka et al and JOSPT!). The article, which is in April’s JOSPT, gives guidelines for diagnosis, outcome measures, examination, and intervention based on the evidence. As I treat patients, I want it to be evidence-based, not just something that sounds like a good idea to me or worked for someone else. I don’t want to discount the anatomy/ physiology/ neuro/ ortho/ kineto theory that I have learned and the application of it – it is important, and is the basis of what we do; but I also want to practice evidence-based PT.  I think that continuing ed providers should have this in mind, especially as continuing ed money becomes tighter for some organizations, insurers take a closer look at what we do, and the APTA keeps pushing for Vision 2020.

Picture credit: Riverfront Park, originally uploaded by Fuschia Foot.

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