Reform Physio Reform Physio

Newcomer Incoming – Eli Tipney

I have followed and admired The Physio Matters Podcast for many years. Admired the way that it has asked difficult questions of articulate individuals, and how it has made a point of not avoiding the blurry grey honest answers that so many physios work hard to avoid. As an MSK physiotherapist that trained outside the UK, and has worked solely in private practice since moving here, it offered ‘introductions’ to inspiring, dynamic, progressive and open-minded professionals – a whose who in different fields and specialties. In one way or another, TPMP led me to the last handful of courses I attended, and also to Twitter. I followed the discussions and blogs that arose from the first two #TheBigRs gatherings with keen interest, and remember wondering how one could possibly ‘get in’? Everyone seemed to know each other – have worked/studied together, or be attending/running courses together. Whereas I was just plodding along, growing progressively frustrated at what I saw of physiotherapy around me, and wondering how long I would last in the profession. When the first mention of a conference was made on one of the TPMP sessions, I knew I needed to be there. This was my chance! I think I booked my spot the first night that the website went live. I didn’t want to give myself time to chicken out!

By the time the conference came around, I had connected with a few more people on Twitter, but still had not actually met anyone in person (except one friend, who didn’t know anyone either). There was definitely a mixture of excitement and nervousness on that first morning, like the first day at a new school surrounded by all the cool kids! But I really didn’t need to worry. There was such a great sense of camaraderie for the entire weekend and I felt part of something as soon as I arrived.  Huge credit must go to the entire Chews Health team for their warm welcome and easy manner, and for setting the relaxed and open atmosphere that allowed the two days to proceed so productively and efficiently.

The conference itself flew by. I was particularly impressed by the keynotes given by Joletta Belton and Jo Gibson, which really roused the audience and felt like a call to action. For all the differences in the room, of which I’m pleased to say there were many, it was the themes of and desires for patient-centered and patient-driven physiotherapy that had brought us all there. Many can acknowledge the importance of the biopsychosocial approach for patients with persistent pain (and many might therefore avoid them). But why can’t this is be at the heart of every interaction with every patient, even the most ‘simple biomedical’ cases?

The opportunity to meet, listen to and engage with individuals who are not just like-minded, but also have a vision for change was invaluable. Most importantly, it was NOT a group of disgruntled and sometimes self-righteous physios having a rant about the profession (which can often be seen on Twitter, and which I admit my part in).

It was a declaration of intent of which I am very proud to be a part.

And I wanted to write something to show that it doesn’t just have to be the well known, or influential physios. It doesn’t just have to be the team leaders or policy-changers or most well-connected.

If it can also be me, then it can also be you.

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