Advocating for our profession.  Advocating for our patients.  Did some very specific images just pop into your head?

“Advocating for our profession” was a hot phrase thrown around in PT school, hammered into our skulls as critical for so many reasons, but have you ever felt like it was just a phrase, not knowing how to actually implement it into practice?

Going to the state capital was so cool as a PT student, feeling like I was part of a larger movement of PTs who were actually making a difference.  But then once I started working, it seemed impossible to get a day off to make the 8 hour round trip.  How am I supposed to advocate if I can’t attend PT Day on the Hill?

The truth is, advocacy can look very different from PT to PT.  This fall, I stumbled upon a method of advocacy that surprised me in the best way possible.  And you can definitely implement advocacy too, in a way that really does make a difference in your community, for your patients.

Advocacy simply means showing up & supporting a cause.

Most OncoPTs I know are obsessed with showing up for their patients & live their best quality of life.  By definition, this screams advocacy.  Good job OncoPT!

But we can’t stop there.  We know that too many patients are going without desperately needed cancer rehabilitation.  

But you don’t have to pass a piece of legislation to make a positive difference.  In fact, it’s the grassroots efforts that really get the ball of change rolling.  Let me explain:

This summer, I competed in the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Business Pitch Competition.  You submitted a business pitch application, they selected the top 6 entries to deliver a 3 minute pitch to a panel of judges, the judges picked the top 3, who then delivered a 5 minute pitch for cash prizes.  I entered my private practice, Fort Worth Cancer Care & ended up in second place!

The cash prize helped me purchase some much needed business expenses (like my first virtual assistant!), but the coolest part came even before the cash prizes.  So many people came up to me after the pitch to tell me about their family members, friends, & loved ones who were diagnosed with cancer & all the impairments they experienced.  Even before my pitch, they recognized that these people were living with side effects from their cancer treatment, knew that their function/mobility/quality of life was impacted, but they didn’t know there was help out there.  Every single one said “there is such a need for this.”

This just goes to show how much work we have to do, if we’re going to make a bigger impact in our communities.  And it starts small.

Here’s 3 easy ways to advocate effectively for your patients:

Join a community organization (& get involved!)

Maybe it’s your local chamber of commerce, maybe it’s a networking group of other therapists, maybe it’s a group that volunteers to clean up the river once a month.  The point is, join an organization where you can connect with people in your community.  You wouldn’t believe the people you meet.  You won’t believe the connections you’ll make & the unexpected ways neighbors show up for each other.  

Even if you don’t own your own practice, companies/corporations can also do this (even maybe just your unit/team) & pour back into the community.  Communities trust who shows up.

Give an inservice.

If you’ve hung around here for any length of time, you know how big a fan I am of inservices.  Inservices are a presentation communicating information to your audience.  They can be formal, informal, small, large, & everywhere in between.  

My smallest inservice to date was just one person.  But to that one person, I changed their whole understanding of lymphedema, just by showing up.  And best of all, that person turned into a patient for me.  

If you’re wondering how to start with an inservice today, be sure to listen to Ep. 198 – How to Create a Killer Inservice.

Talk about OncoPT in your community.

People don’t know there’s a solution for their problem, unless someone is talking about the solution.

Patients with cancer have a problem (well, actually a list of problems).  We know OncoPT is the solution.  So talk about it!

One of the easiest & cheapest ways to get started is social media.  Before you cringe & tune me out, hear this: social media is free.  People use social media to be entertained, educated, & inspired.  

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there on social media, especially when it comes to cancer & its treatments.  Not enough people are talking about cancer rehab & how it can help people with a cancer diagnosis.  

You don’t have to be a mega-influencer to use your platform to talk about cancer rehab.  In fact, you shouldn’t try to talk to everybody out there on social media.  Just talk to one person in your messaging.  Direct your message to this one person, your ideal patient.  But imagine the difference you are making by educating this one person.  


So now I want to hear from you: how are you advocating for OncoPT in your community? Message me on Instagram and let me know.

Until next time, this is Elise with TheOncoPT.  And remember you are exactly the physical therapist that your patients with cancer need. So let’s get to work.