My experience at the American Physical Therapy Association’s 2010 House of Delegates and Annual Conference was very enlightening. It was very eye opening to see the dedication and thoughtfulness that the selected representatives from each state put into the policies that govern the way we as physical therapists will practice. The 26 motions presented at this year's House of Delegates included term protection for the terms physical therapy and physiotherapy, which will prohibit the use of these terms in advertisement by other professions not providing physical therapy services by physical therapists. Other motions proposed that the APTA should issue a statement and take a position in the fight against childhood obesity and that the APTA should issue a statement against torture.
The motion that I was the most intrigued with was RC 16-10 which stated that the APTA would develop strategies to establish collaborative relationships with primary care professional organizations such as the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, and many others. With there being a shortage of physicians choosing to practice in primary care, other medical professions such as Nurse Practitioners are filling that role. The Doctor of Physical Therapy curriculum gives physical therapists the skills and knowledge to effectively screen and direct the care of patients with musculoskeletal conditions. This strategic development will allow physical therapists to take on a primary care role for musculoskeletal disorders and align the profession with the APTA's vision of autonomous practice for physical therapists. This motion is the step in the right direction for the fulfillment of the APTA’s Vision 2020 and the establishment of direct access in all 50 states.
As a member of the next generation of physical therapists, I am very encouraged and enthusiastic about the direction that the APTA is taking the profession. The 2010 House of Delegates has shown me that there are people who are working hard every day to move my profession forward and ensure that our voice is heard in the healthcare world. My career and the careers of my fellow physical therapy classmates are bright because of the motions passed at this year's House of Delegates. I look forward to doing my part and serving on the national level within the APTA and maybe even becoming a delegate for my state to help continue the forward progression of my profession. Pictured: Michelle Howze (left) with faculty and students at the APTA 2010 House of Delegates in Boston.
Michelle Howze, SPT, University of Indianapolis
Indiana Core Ambassador, APTA Student Assembly