I had an absolute whirlwind day at the first day of the WCPT Congress in Singapore, starting at 7am with the Mental Health networking session and finally heading back to the hotel at 11.30pm from the @PTpubnight at the Berlin Bar. The best way to catch some of the feeling of being here is through twitter – have a look at the hashtag #WCPT2015 for dips into most of the sessions plus some social snippets as well. The overwhelming feeling here is that it is wonderful to be in such a global environment with delegates being able to learn from each other and constantly challenge local assumptions we make about what it is to ‘be a physiotherapist’.
What follows are some personal highlights from yesterday – but keep in mind that I was only seeing a tiny fragment of this very large (and extremely well run) conference. For a broader idea of the programme on check out the WCPT website: http://www.wcpt.org/congress/programme
First up I was only a tiny bit late for the (7am!!) Mental Health Networking Session. This was a well-attended session and a great exploration of the ‘bodily aspects’ of mental health, particularly interesting in its discussion of mind and body philosophy. After I participated in the Futures Forum, an invite only session where future directions of physiotherapy were debated amongst leaders in the profession. Relevant topics were discussed in a number of formats. Our table was given the topic of ‘mentoring physiotherapists’ to give input into and had great chats about reflexivity in physiotherapy. Later in the forum I had the opportunity to introduce the suggestion that to uncover and explore the philosophical and ontological underpinnings of our profession it might be helpful to understand the past, present and future of physiotherapy.
I then session hopped from the History of Physical Therapy Networking Session which was beginning a very interesting discussion on historical perspectives in physiotherapy to the Professional Issues platform sessions where among others I listened to Birgit Muller-Winkler from the CSP give nuanced insight into supporting overseas qualified physios during the transition into practice in the UK; Joan McMeekan (CPN member, Aus) present the story of Mr Robinson, a fascinating pioneering physiotherapist; and Catherine Sykes (CPN member, UK/Aus) discussing health inequities as they can be understood by WCPT counts of physiotherapists worldwide.
Following this I caught the Education concurrent session where John Hammond (CPN member, UK) presented on job-seeking experiences of physiotherapists from ethnic minority groups and Amy Hiller (CPN member, Aus) presented on the gap between theory and practice in ‘patient centred practice’.
In the Global Health session I presented a paper on patient experiences of interactions with physiotherapists that involve weight, this is now available here. I had some excellent responses and got to meet the wonderful Darren Brown (WCPT HIV/AIDs co-ordinator) and Stuart Palma (CSP) after this. The speaker before me, Tracy Bury (WCPT) discussed a global survey the WCPT conducted into the access people with disabilities have to physical therapy entry level education and professional practice. Tracy also announced the WCPT introduced policy for inclusion of people with disabilities into the profession at their general meeting a couple of days earlier.
Darren Brown and I then went out for some excellent hawker food, indulged ourselves in a Singapore Sling at the Raffles (where really the best thing that this very beautiful bar has is its whole floor covered in peanut shells that you contribute to from the sack of peanuts on your table!) and then joined a large crowd of physios for the global phenomenon of @PTpubnight at The Berlin Bar, set in the grounds of a beautifully renovated church.
If anyone would like any more information about any of the topics I have touched on briefly above please do not hesitate to contact me.
Posted by Jenny Setchell at WCPT 2015 Singapore.