The American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) is considered one of the biggest events for understanding the future of physical therapy jobs, drawing in more than 10,000 PT professionals and students under one roof for four days of extraordinary programming and networking.
A little background about the CSM
For 2015’s event, the CSM took place in Indianapolis, Indiana, at the Indiana Convention Center. Feb. 3 and 4 hosted the preconference courses, while the education courses took place from Feb. 5 through 7. Individuals from across the U.S. made their way to this Midwest hub to share, network and discuss the most pressing issues related to the PT field.
Aureus Medical Group’s Sunny Snook, the branch manager of recruitment and student outreach for the rehabilitation therapy division, was one of the exhibitors at the CSM, and recently shared some excellent insights into hot topics and trends discussed among exhibitors and attendees.
The future of physical therapy
Overall, Snook noted that the APTA is excellent at meeting the needs of PTs and PT students at the CSM, as it’s one of the key events in expanding skill sets of the 18 specialty sections involved in the PT field. It’s here where future PTs can talk to educators, clinicians and researchers in one setting, creating a program scope that reaches across all aspects of patient care and rehab. Snook also noted that attending can give the PTs of tomorrow an inside glimpse of what the industry will look like a few years down the road.
“Attending the PT-PAC (Political Action Committee) event helps you become aware of those championing legislative concerns or issues in the physical therapy world at a federal level,” Snook said in a recent interview.
Technology front and center
When asked about the comparisons between 2014’s CSM and this year’s event, Snook noted that technology seemed to play a huge factor.
“I noticed that every section in APTA was dedicated to some form of technology. Being a non-PT, this truly was an eye opening experience but also very exciting to hear and learn about them,” Snook explained.
In addition to technological advancements at this year’s CSM, there was also “an excitement” for other options in the field. For instance, there was a noted interest in travel physical therapy and relocation, as well as ways to help grow a business in providing therapists. Even though these discussions have taken place in previous CSMs, Snook said that there was a distinct “positive energy” at this year’s event.
Reaching out to students
Aureus Medical is well-known for having a strong student outreach program, so Snook was looking forward to speaking directly to this demographic during the CSM.
“It was thrilling to hear of all of the positive feedback from students about our student outreach program,” Snook said. “I had university faculty members come by to say thank you for the work we’ve done with their students and one in particular, that was happy to finally have met me since he heard so much from an alumni that worked with me in the past.”
“New graduates told Snook that they appreciated Aureus’ ‘no-nonsense’ career advice.”
The students and new graduates also told Snook that they appreciated Aureus’ “no-nonsense” approach to career advice. Many individuals just starting out in the PT field said that when they first began looking for physical therapy jobs, there seemed to be a lot of information to wade through. However, with Aureus, there were realistic conversations about the benefits and challenges of the PT industry and the job market in general.
“There were even moments when students we had spoken to left the booth and came back later with even more students, saying ‘Tell them what you told me. They need to hear this!'” Snook explained.
Memorable moments from APTA’s CSM
Snook and the rest of the Aureus Medical staff were able to give away some great prizes at the event, including an iPad mini, pens, goniometers and t-shirts. The tees in particular were a huge hit with attendees, as the slogan on the shirt was designed by actual PT students. Every year, Aureus Medical launches a logo design contest for PT or OT students, and the winner gets the bragging rights of seeing their creative ideas on shirts that are distributed at a nationwide event.
In addition, Snook claimed that talking with past, current and “hopefully future” employees was also a highlight of the event. Seeing and hearing how Aureus Medical was about to make a difference in the lives of people in this growing sector was a real treat for everyone involved.
“To see how we helped people find the job they are currently in, to hear how travelers are loving what they do and to get to know future hopefuls, that is just icing on the cake for us,” Snook concluded.