What a rush! You spend months (sometimes, years!) preparing for the World Confederation of Physical Therapy (WCPT) experience. The excitement, the passion, the reciprocal enthusiasm and connections with your fellow physiotherapists. What better way to recharge your professional batteries than to plug into your international community – and in Geneva of all places!
Now is a time for follow ups and reflection (Read Kim’s post on her experience here!); but it is also the time for planning! That’s right, you should already be thinking about your next experience at the upcoming WCPT Congress. If you need a little nudging or inspiration, check out why the next congress in Dubai in 2021 is calling your name!
1. Connect with your professional network in person
Even with the popularity and accessibility of online networking, you cannot replace the experience of face-to-face time with a friend, colleague or someone who professionally inspires you. Take the time to meet new people, share new ideas and learn from those who have the knowledge and skills to help you up your clinical game. This is how you stimulate your “social neurons” and get them firing. Check out your professional organization (one of mine includes the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, which organized its own meet and greet at the WCPT), and seek new ones!
Did you know that there is a International Federation of Sports Physical Therapy (IFSPT)? What about IFOMPT, for manual therapists? You can even connect with other Paediatric Physiotherapists from around the world. The organizations and specialties are endless.
Click here to see a list of some of the physiotherapy associations from around the world (feel free to contact them, to add your association to the list!).
2. Check out new products
Let’s face it, some of us become physiotherapists because of the cool materials and equipment we get to use. How great is it, that with our sills, knowledge and innovative technology – we can improve a person’s quality of life? The WCPT prides itself on showcasing the latest and greatest in physical medicine and rehabilitation technologies and products. Get your hands dirty, try out some new products and speak directly with the manufacturers.
Physiopedia co-founders, Rachael and Tony, were thrilled with the Physiopedia volunteers at the WCPT, and with the overwhelmingly positive support from Physiopedia users. Physiopedia had a table-display and numerous presentations at the WCPT. This is truly the best way to get a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes with Physiopedia. Meet some great people, chat about your physiotherapy challenges and let us know what you need from us! We are all ears and happy to hear your suggestions as to how we can improve our knowledge-sharing efforts. Click here to send us your ideas!
If you have not had the chance to see your Physiopedia team in action, click here to check out the photo diary from the WCPT in Geneva.
4. Be professional inspired and feed your Physio Soul!
How many of us become so consumed with our day-to-day routine, whether it be in a classroom, in a clinic or in a lab (for example) – it can happen that we feel stuck in a rut. The WCPT Congress is the perfect opportunity to shake off those “routine cobwebs”, and to share ideas about best practices, ethical dilemmas, or to simply learn new time-management strategies for your practice. I guarantee you will not be disappointed with your experience at the WCPT. Be open to new ideas, meet new people and let your professional soul be nourished!
A renewed / inspired physiotherapist is an effective physiotherapist!
5. Check out what others are doing
New ideas, approaches and research are circulating simultaneously around the globe. What is being developed, as we speak?
Get to know what the latest trends are in Japan, what is new with the pelvic floor in Australia, is there a new taping technique in the United States?
The WCPT has ample opportunity for you to learn and observe what physiotherapy looks like around the world. You can attend working groups, presentations, meet allied-health care professionals or even chat up a researcher during their podium or poster presentation. Networking is worth its weight in gold, get out there and share ideas!
6. Stimulate your grey matter
You may or may not be finished with schooling or courses, but it can be all too easy to become stagnant with our learning. Perhaps you are a seasoned clinician and you are content with your current practice, but is what you are doing truly supported by scientific evidence? Is there anything new you can be adding to your repertoire to better support your patients?
The WCPT is a hub for learning. Get into a controversial conversation over coffee, ask the Subject Matter Expert (SME), that burning question you have been holding onto for months, during their presentation. Ask the hard questions, stimulate debate! You never know how you might inspire others. Work that complex organ (your precious brain), get the circulation flowing and feed your grey matter!
P.S. Physioplus should be added to your “online favorites”, because you can access hundreds of courses online, from the comfort of your own home.
7. Job opportunities
Have you ever thought about the WCPT as a potential job hunting ground? Well you should! Bring your business cards (yes, you should have some!), talk to companies, organizations and maybe even clinics or research institutions that interest you. Envisage where you want to be in 5 years, and make your move.
Did you know that physiotherapists can work as consultants with companies, can be involved in international organizations like the Red Cross or the World Health Organization? Physiotherapists are not limited to the clinic or research anymore, I truly believe it is one of the occupations with the most versatility. Think about what group of people you most enjoy working with (not just your patients, but your colleagues as well) and see how you can expand your job prospects.
8. Merge your clinical and research interests
Clinical practice and research go together like peanut butter and jelly (or salt and vinegar, or chicken and waffles… take your pick!). In a perfect self-feeding cycle, clinical practice should fuel research, and research should in-turn support clinical practice. Do you have a particular clinical passion, but there is little research on the subject? Plant the seed with a researcher – perhaps they have had the same question or research interest. There is no reason why you cannot be a clinician AND a researcher. To strengthen our practice as a whole, we need practicing clinicians to be interested in contributing to research. We also need researchers who are focused on making their findings clinically accessible. The WCPT Congress is a unique opportunity to see both areas flourish and mutually influence each other. Be part of it and help us blur the lines between clinical practice and research.
9. Get involved
Do you want a voice? Do your opinions matter? Then take a stance and get involved. Even an hour a week of your time can make an impact. You can volunteer for the WCPT and of course you can also get involved with Physiopedia! You can learn about our Volunteer Orientation Course, about the benefits of volunteering, and of course contribute towards a cause or topic which fuels your passion.
10. Grow your own footprint
I think it is safe to say, that we are all drawn to physical rehabilitation because we enjoy making an impact and provoking change. There is something beyond rewarding about directly impacting a person’s quality of life. You are interested in medicine and healing, a worthy cause. Let that interest grow, and identify how you can make the greatest impact. Do not become preoccupied by what your colleagues are doing, who has opened a new clinic or which researcher has published another article in your field. Focus on you, your interests and what brings you professional fulfillment. I challenge you all to a 5 minute reflection period, where you physically write down in point form; your accomplishments, your professional interests and how you can grow them over the coming years. Think outside the box and consider new experiences.
My last challenge to you is to seriously consider the next WCPT Congress, not simply for all the reasons I have mentioned, but because you are worth being part of this expanding network of impressive people.
Last but not least, check out the upcoming WCPT Congresses: (I hope to see you all there!).
The WCPT Congress 2021 will take place in Dubai, UAE
Host member organisation: Emirates Physiotherapy Society
Congress dates: 8-10 April 2021
The call for Congress Programme Committee members closed on 23 May 2019
The WCPT General Meeting and WCPT Congress 2023 will take place in Tokyo, Japan
Host member organisation: Japanese Physical Therapy Association
General Meeting dates: 30-31 May 2023
Congress dates: 1-4 June 2023
The call for Congress Programme Committee members will open in 2021.