Hard to believe we're now less than a week away from completing the formal road-trip phase of the Physio Moves Canada project. While we've still got several sites to visit upon our return to Southern Ontario, it's worthwhile to pause and reflect a bit on the outstanding experience and perspective this project has already provided. And what better place to do so than out in the Yukon wilderness, 'off the grid' (well, sort of, obviously still have internet access, running off a generator). When we first started to plan there were definitely those who said we couldn't do 7 weeks consecutively on the road in a mini van. There were some who questioned why not just phone these places and talk to them? Others who didn't see the value in the project overall or who needed some serious convincing. But we persevered out of a strong (and now verifiable) belief in the value of this project. No one has dedicated this type of time or resources to a project like this before (at least as far as we know), and I can say the insights, both formal data and informal observations, have been life changing in a way that could not be attained through a phone call. I'll put my academic hat on for a minute and state that I CANNOT return to my role as a researcher and educator at Western University after this trip and think the same way I did before starting it. I have learned so much about both the threats and the opportunities and innovations facing the profession over the next several years. And of course, every research question I now pose will be done through the lens of the entire country as much as possible, not just Southwestern Ontario.
As a short reflection, and realizing we've still got about 8 of our 26 sites to visit, I can at least say with confidence that the status quo will very likely lead to our slow but steady extinction. In other words, if we collectively settled into our perfectly comfortable ways of practicing then we might continue to be privileged with a spot in the pantheon of healthcare for another 10, 20 years maybe? But eventually we will get overtaken by less expensive (and admittedly less trained, but dollars and cents are strong drivers) other providers. But I don't mean to be preaching doom and gloom - what I am actually finding is that we as a profession have yet to even come close to our full potential. Even as we come up to 100 years of PT in Canada, I'd say we have yet to really 'grow up' as a profession. There are so many opportunities out there, some staring us in the face waiting for us to grab them, others we'll have to create and incubate, but we (the collective 'we') should only worry when we stop innovating. As long as we are willing to put in a little work, be willing to change and adapt, and let go of old ways of thinking in favour of new approaches, we will continue to not just survive but thrive into an uncertain future.
We do have one more clinician focus session in Vancouver on August 10th that still has some spaces available so head over to the Events page and register if you're in the area. Also chekc out our Sponsors page to see what groups shared in our vision for this project. And I'll leave you with this image that I took at a Beringian Interpretive Centre in Whitehorse the other day. I think there's a message in here for all health care providers.