One thing I wanted to do this year was to get out of my comfort zone and start venturing out on my own to better develop myself as a physical therapist. This was one of the main reasons why I decided to go to the private practice meeting a few weeks ago and I was glad I did. It was extremely worth it and I found an appreciation for going to these smaller meetings, in addition to the Combined Section Meeting. Here are the three things I enjoyed about the private practice conference and why you should consider going to a similar meeting for yourself:
Don’t get me wrong, I loved my first CSM last year, but there was definitely a feeling of being overwhelmed. With CSM having over 10,000 people, my natural tendency of hermetism kicked in more than once. However, I did not feel this was the case (so much) at the private practice conference. Having fewer people meant I kept seeing the same faces everywhere which definitely made me feel more a part of a group, rather than a student looking in from the outside. This also made it easier to talk to the likes of Greg Todd, or Jerry Durham, who may be a little more swarmed at a bigger conference.
All Weekend, One Mindset
Going to the private practice conference also helped me focus on a certain aspect of physical therapy; at CSM, there were just so many talks I wanted to see. For every sports section talk that I went to a CSM, I knew I was missing out on one in health policy & administration. And when I did attend different talks throughout the day, it was hard for me to put everything into perspective. However, at this conference, I was able to just focus on the business side of physical therapy all weekend. This helped me connect the dots a little easier and fully flesh out some ideas, rather than feeling like I was just skimming the surface.
WAY LESS WALKING!
Probably the most noticeable thing about the private practice conference was the fact that it, largely, took place in just two halls. It was SO MUCH EASIER to go from one meeting to the next without having to run down three flights of stairs and over into another hotel like at CSM. This made it easier to have casual conversations in the halls between meetings and made for a more relaxed environment overall.
These conferences aren’t cheap and some don’t even consider going to CSM, students and professionals alike, but I think they are important because it exposes us to different aspects of physical therapy. I have enjoyed all of the content at CSM and the private practice conference, but the ability to meet new students and professionals is probably my favorite reason to attend. And if you’re like me then perhaps a smaller conference would be more beneficial to get out of your comfort zone and talk to some amazing people in this profession.