Occasionally, we get requests for guest posts from various individuals. Some of them are good. None of them have yet been published…until now! Look for more guest contributor posts as we transition and grow from NPA Think Tank to PT Think Tank! Thanks, ERIC
Be an Advocate!
In conjunction with the Special Olympics campaign to eliminate the use of the “r-word”, it only seemed fitting that Physical Therapists re-evaluate how our professional and personal speech affects others. Non-offensive language is an issue that is drilled into our heads throughout PT school, and is a skill that must be learned through direct application. When dealing with patients of all cultural, religious, and ethnic backgrounds, I’m sure that everyone can recall an instance where they have “put their foot in their mouth”. As most of you have probably heard about, even one of the most prominent figures of our nation is not excluded from this category.
It is especially important for Physical Therapists to monitor our language both in our professional and personal lives. In our personal lives, if we are not sensitive to language that will offend our clients, then what kind of an example of health care professionals are we? As a student, I especially know how hard it is to eliminate phrases from that which seemed “cool” in high school or college and fully grasp their offensive nature. Also, what kind of advocate for those with disabilities am I if I find humor in others jokes at their expense? I know that my personal struggle is one that I will work on daily and will take time to master. I encourage all health care providers to be especially cognizant of the nature of their personal speech and those around them because if we are not willing to stand up for the dignity of our clients then who will? Be an advocate!
Contributor: Diving Bell
Diving Bell is a student physical therapist who was inspired by author Jean-Dominique Bauby (Diving Bell & the Butterfly) to make a creative outlet for her thoughts. Since she is in the process of formally being accepted in the profession she thought it was best to let her opinions be free like a butterfly while hiding her identity in a diving bell. Her interests include geriatrics and neurological disabilities. If she has the opportunity to get her nose out of her textbooks, then she enjoys cooking, tennis, and traveling as far away as student loans allow.