We might have different rooms, but we are all under the same roof
The debate of who to trust in our profession is like watching two parents disagree on how their kids should be raised. The good news is that both sides will almost always act in their child’s best interest. In the PT world, we’ve found ourselves in a place where we are stuck eating soup with a fork knowing there is so much yumminess still left in the bowl. At some point, we hope to scoop up this content with a spoon, leaving no good information behind.
I’ve been blessed enough to have had in depth exposure to great minds on both sides of the fence when it comes to comparing physical therapists in the academic and clinical settings. I can honestly say I admire the landscaping on both sides.
The Renowned Professor
The first group of intellects is what we are exposed to in school. This group includes those with PhDs, years of participation in groundbreaking research and even published books. Early in our careers, we spend countless hours consuming their content to grasp a proper introduction into the world of PT before truly getting our feet wet. This group may have had years of clinical experience as well, but usually will have been removed from consistent clinical practice to pursue even more accolades. They are the backbone of our profession; we’ll never make it through this stage of adolescence without them.
The Rockstar Clinician
The second group consists of clinicians who are out in the world carrying the profession in a different sense as they deal with the day-to-day load of patient care. Those at the forefront of this group may or may not have kept up with all of the latest research or even the most up to date textbooks, however, they are idolized by their colleagues and usually sought after for advice on complex patients even by some of the most experienced clinicians. Their approach to PT is probably different than what is taught in DPT programs, but they are getting their patients better consistently.
The Alligators of the Swamp
This last group is a very special one. They have shown the ability to not only run on the land of academia, but also swim in the marshes of patient care with the Rockstar. They value what both groups bring to the table and have found a way to master this art in a manner that an advanced practitioner can appreciate. These are individuals who have pioneered and disseminated their philosophies to the PT community as a whole. If you’re ever wondering what’s being left behind from the fork in the bowl of soup, here is where you will find it.
If you’re striving to be an alligator, you have to first respect how the Renowned Professor and Rockstar clinician are giving you landscape to explore on both sides of the fence. It’s impossible for either group to be right 100% of the time, but the level of intelligence in each provides plenty of fertilizer for you to excel. Stay grounded in why you chose this journey of becoming a master clinician and embrace the pearls you receive from each group knowing you’re leveling up with each patient contact.