Our esteemed Roger Kerry (@RogerKerry1) asked a great question on Twitter last week. Is a detailed knowledge of anatomy (e.g. muscle structure/innervation; bone form; neural plexi structure; lung structure; etc) necessary to be a good clinician? (Here's a link to the full Twitter conversation). Interestingly, peoples' responses broadly polarised into two binary positions with roughly two-thirds of respondents arguing a qualified "yes", that anatomy was essential, with a third arguing "no". The posted comments also make for interesting reading. But it felt to me that one of the things missing from the debate was a discussion of what anatomy does for physiotherapy, beyond giving us a … [Read more...] about Anatomy and physiotherapy
Three years ago I stepped away from my teaching job in the physiotherapy programme here at AUT University, in Auckland, New Zealand, to manage a team of psychology and psychotherapy lecturers and researchers. The secondment comes to an end in a few weeks time and it's given me an opportunity to reflect on what it's like working with people who think and work completely differently to physios. The first thing that struck me about my time with the 'psy' disciplines is how little time physios actually spend thinking about what they do. Personal therapy and supervision are absolutely intrinsic to the profession, and no-one here believes that you can be a mindful practitioner without also … [Read more...] about Lessons learned from leaving physiotherapy
We're coming to the end of a long academic year in New Zealand, so that means lots of examination and assessment of nervous students. This time last year I took over a postgraduate paper called Health Professional Practice with a view to 'reshaping' it. For years it had been delivered in a standard fashion: block study, lots of lectures and tutorials - mostly directed at students rather than engaging them, boring assessments. I decided to shake things up a bit. The paper needed to be much more about what made the students 'tick' as health professionals; their experiences, ideas and issues. But it also needed to get them to critically examine their professions in ways they hadn't … [Read more...] about Innovation
Mike Stewart posted an interesting picture (link) on his Facebook feed a couple of days ago (thanks to Paul Lagerman - The Naked Physio - for the link, and Mike for posting). Participants on Mike's course were asked to respond to the prompt; "If I designed a healthcare course for students, the first 3 lessons would be...' The responses proved interesting. https://www.facebook.com/100008119901926/posts/2199382033675772/ My suspicion is that if you asked any experienced physiotherapist, they are likely to say something similar. In fact, the evidence suggests that most employers, practitioners, and consumers want their clinicians to have good communications skills, be empathic, … [Read more...] about What is at the heart of physiotherapy?
I teach on a postgraduate paper that gets students from all sorts of health disciplines to think about themselves as health professionals, their professions, and the ‘others’ that they work with. We use a lot of activities to get the students to reflect on their practice and some of these activities can be really challenging. Students do photo essays, write letters of appreciation, design practice models, and explore critical incidents, but perhaps the most interesting activity involves them taking something every day and obvious and making it strange. We ask the students to identify something about their practice that might otherwise be taken-for-granted, and get them to tell us … [Read more...] about Stating the obvious
A couple of friends sent me things that they thought I'd enjoy this week, and both of them are worth sharing. The first was a quote from a student who is halfway through their final year of study and in the middle of a long block of clinical practice. They were reflecting on their work. They wrote: “Sometimes I feel it can be hard to take off my "physio thinking hat" and put on my human thinking hat.” We should perhaps have a moment's silence just to reflect on that. The second was a paper from 2004 that highlighted the virtues of looking at the obvious and familiar in new ways. The paper is titled Culture on the ground: The World Perceived Through the Feet (link to the full … [Read more...] about Taking off your ‘physio’ head
It's often tempting to think that it's the big changes, the grand gestures, that do the most damage to a profession, but it's really the small acts of violence that really do the damage. The daily drip, drip, drip, that slowly erodes the foundations until, one day, the house falls down. 'Threats to democracy come one dollar at a time', goes the old American political aphorism, and so it is with professions like physiotherapy, which can suffer death from a thousand cuts if they are too distracted to notice. Foucault would say that the most powerful and dangerous ideas are those that arrive under the cover of common sense, where it seems almost impossible to dispute the reason and logic … [Read more...] about The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away