It was a snowy Monday morning outside my New Jersey office only days before I headed to California for APTA’s Combined Section Meeting (CSM) 2016. In my mind, this event always launches a new year of exciting lectures, professional relationships, and reunions with former classmates and colleagues.
I remembered how eager I was to go to CSM as a student of physical therapy. I felt I was on the cutting edge of our profession with so many wonderful speakers and new treatment techniques and ideas, not to mention all the happy hours where you could meet and learn from other professionals.
For the past three years, I just soaked it all in. After graduating in August 2015, I attended this CSM with a slightly altered name badge, moving from the designation of SPT to DPT.
Other than my badge, not much else changed at this year’s CSM. I still roomed with old classmates, cramming as many of us as possible into a room to save money to explore Anaheim. I also squeezed in a run early one morning and was joined by what seemed like half the conference!
I still attended as much Section on Women’s Health programming as possible, and I still ran around the exhibit hall picking up free shirts for family and checking out the latest equipment and technology in our field. I still hopped from happy hour to happy hour, collecting my beads at Board in the Bar, meeting up with old friends and making new ones.
Finally, the Section on Women’s Health business meeting continued to be a highlight of the conference, celebrating what we accomplished in the past year and gearing up for a new year ahead. (And you all certainly kept me busy this year writing down all your ideas on what makes a women’s health therapist unique!)
Just like previous CSMs, by the end of programming on Saturday, I was sleep-deprived but filled with new information and fresh appreciation for everything this profession offers.
CSM is a wonderful time to step away from school or the clinic to refocus on what is important. Student loans, company politics, and the hustle and bustle of the day-to-day tends to generate noise and distractions. Sometimes we lose sight of our passion for helping others. But with more than 11,000 attendees, CSM is the time of year to feel like part of the physical therapy community and to realize why we go to school or work every single day.
Next year we will all gather in San Antonio to repeat and refresh. Join me, either as a presenter or attendee. March 9 is the deadline for all 2017 CSM education proposals, and February 15-18, 2017, is when I plan on celebrating a short work week and an exciting conference to come. See you in Texas!
Author: Tamra Wroblesky, PT, DPT, is co-owner and pelvic health physical therapist at Inner Dynamics Physical Therapy in Ocean City, NJ. She was the former SSIG president of the SoWH and is on the Name Change Task Force. Prior to moving her pelvic pain advocacy to the treatment room, she shared her recovery from pelvic pain on her blog, Sky Circles, and in Pelvic Pain Explained, a book about pelvic health physical therapy. In addition, her pelvic pain story has been featured on MTV’s mini-documentary show “Real Life.” [firstname.lastname@example.org]