In retrospect, the Vision 2020 statement had its good points. I never did think that it created a solid enough brand statement. But it did envision physical therapists as practitioners of choice, and it put movement, function, and health at the forefront. Those are all good things, right?
How far we actually progressed towards that vision can be hotly debated, but that isn't the issue at hand right now.
This week, the APTA House Of Delegates approved a brand new vision statement. If the last one had you wondering, then this is one for the ages.
The newest vision statement reads as follows:
“Transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience”
I'll be the first to say that I am in support of BHAGs - Big Hairy Audacious Goals. No problem there. And "transforming society" is, without a doubt, an audacious goal.
It talks about “optimizing movement” – and I am definitely an advocate of physical therapy as a movement profession.
However, love it or hate it, there is one very difficult issue with the vision. We are transforming society with one hand tied behind our backs.
How so? Transforming society is especially difficult without direct access to the society we are trying to transform. As it stands, it would currently sound more like "Excuse me sir, could I get permission to go transform society? Please?". It just lost its edge, didn't it?
Our opponents - and we know who they are - continue to promote circa-1950's thinking. They, in effect, don't want us to transform society nor do they wish to give us permission to do so either. When your goal is to change the world, the powers-that-be in the world don't want it to happen. Maintain the status quo. Maintain the balance of power.
As long as we are seeking permission for access, then we will never be able to be on a level playing field with other professions who may not have the capacity to "transform society", even though we do.
I will, in a future post, outline how physical therapists are well-equipped to transform society and health care - if they choose to do so. But in the meantime, while applauding the efforts of those who have proposed this vision, I stand here today and state, simply: be warned.
As audacious and flashy as the vision is, it will require much hard work and focus. It will be a struggle beyond what we currently face – and we have yet to accomplish the last set of goals. It won’t happen with one hand behind our backs. And most important of all, it will require coming together as a profession first and foremost. United we stand, united we transform society.
Photo credits: Nomadic Lass