This post follows a blogpost on a brief history of the 1st WCPT Congress in London in 1953. You can access this post here.
Catherine Worthingham from the USA – who would later give her name to prestigious APTA Fellowships – gave a talk on Trends in physical therapy education that is worth briefly quoting from:
Although physical therapy is one of the oldest forms of patient care, it is a relative newcomer to the constellation of medical and medical auxiliary professions. This fact is both a handicap and an advantage. A handicap, because recognition and appropriate support for a new field of professional effort is hard to obtain. An advantage, in that as a new profession we are not bound by established patterns and traditions. We are free, therefore, to mould education and practice in a way which will serve best the needs of the medical profession and their patients (p.54).
The most important similarity [between physical therapists from different countries] is the type or person who has been attracted to physical therapy as a life work. These physical therapists have exalted service above personal gain, and have devoted their lives to people and their problems. They have had a fundamental urge to serve humanity in a way that would lessen human suffering. The techniques which have been used for the purpose have differed widely, but the warmth and understanding in the relationship between the physical therapist and his [sic] patient have been the same. It is possible that the desire and earnest effort to help the patient in many instances have been more important than the actual procedures employed. No on would wish to minimize the personal characteristics of the physical therapist of the past, the present or the future. However, the growth in stature of the profession has been dependent also upon other qualities and abilities of the people who have entered it and will continue to be so (p.54).
If the trends in education continue to be directed towards the wise selection, education and placement of physical therapists whose interests are in serving humanity to the best of their ability, the future of the profession of physical therapy is assured (p.54).
All material taken from the published proceedings of the First Congress of the WCPT, published by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, London, 1953.