Promote Equal Opportunity for Success With Physical Therapy
This blog about equal opportunity and physical therapy was written by Brian Gallagher, PT, Owner of MEG Business Management
We all have a responsibility to advocate against discrimination.
Listed below are ways to help your practice when striving for excellence in diversity, equality, and inclusion.
Equal Opportunity for Physical Therapy Success is Necessary
To start, you shouldn’t feel that these are issues that “others” need to address. Most importantly, this is true even when you are not affiliated with a particular group. It also applies to those that have not personally experienced discrimination.
Taking a medical oath means making a promise to treat and serve community members regardless of individual characteristics or traits. Unfortunately, the system itself makes this difficult at times. Proof of this is in recent news articles that report that there is racial discrimination within the medical community.
As a physical therapy provider, it is important to do everything necessary for patients. This includes finding the best ways to promote equal opportunity for success with this treatment.
It does not matter whether the form of discrimination is directed toward race, creed, socio-economic standing, sexual orientation, or gender. We are all going to be impacted to a varying degree as a human race.
As a business leader, you have the opportunity to foster growth and use your voice. By doing this, you act in a manner that discourages others from discriminatory behaviors in your practice. By doing this, you’ll begin building a culture of inclusivity. This shows both employees and patents that this is your mission; you set a very important precedent.
How to Promote Equal Opportunity for Success in Physical Therapy
The easiest ways to set this precedent are by putting the following five operational procedures into place.
- Distribution of current Policy & Procedure (P&P) manual
- 5 Phase Hiring Process
- Use of operational tools
- Develop a Business Strategic Plan
- Career Development Training (CDT)
Each of these five areas is important. As established operating procedures for your clinic or facility, they accomplish a different goal.
The first Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) should be the distribution of your P&P Manual. Your manual needs to be fully up-to-date, with the latest compliance protocols and regulations. This will outline the ethics of the group and provide guidance as to what is acceptable behavior.
Second, you will need a hiring and recruiting protocol. To clarify, following this outline exactly with every potential new hire promotes your company culture. Above all, it helps remove bias during the hiring process.
You must have the tools to look past the “mask” (so to speak). Also, you’ll need to discard the “best foot forward” persona that is apparent during the interview process. You must hire the actual person, not just a license with a heartbeat.
There needs to be zero tolerance for racism, sexism, and general discrimination.
These attributes are counter-productive toward reaching meaningful goals set for you and your practice. Unfortunately, they can negatively impact those you most care about. Two ways to avoid this?
- Including those who are striving to live harmoniously
- Lifting each other up in pursuit of their goals through personal and professional growth
Surrounding yourself with people who truly care about others is essential to providing equal opportunity for physical therapy access.
Third, you need documents to serve as operational tools necessary to establish agreed-upon expectations. These include:
- Status Sheets
- Performance Planning Review forms
Both of these tools help you monitor and measure the production of your employees objectively.
Fourth, include your team in the Business Strategic Plan (BSP) process. This allows everyone to contribute to the future success of the organization. For example, this also ensures that all voices are heard. It is important to include your employees in your vision. They are the soul of your entire operation.
Lastly, it is essential that you establish an internal, Career Development Training System. This system enables continued education and enhancement for each and every member of your practice. Build an internal system of training that focuses on repetition for full comprehension and application. After doing this, the team’s level of understanding and performance improves – usually markedly.
It’s not enough to simply take steps of accountability for one’s own actions. As the leader & CEO, you must assume responsibility for your entire team.
What to Remember About Equal Opportunity Physical Therapy Success
Remember: “transparency breeds trust.”
Above all, knowing what to look for in others (and in yourself) and not hesitating to look closely is imperative. Two ways to do this are exercising and honing your ability to confront issues as they arise. This also needs to be true even in some cases before issues are present. To promote equal opportunity access to physical therapy, you must do your part.
There is absolutely no room for hate in the physical therapy profession.
People are the heartbeat of the world and the pulse of the physical therapy profession. Without clients and patients, therapists cannot provide the services that they are capable of. They cannot help others change their routines and get back to healthier, capable living.
An example of one question that can (and should) get asked when looking to hire a new employee is this:
Why devote yourself to a profession centered on helping others if you’re unwilling to advocate for the best interests of all individuals?
Don’t just be an advocate for your patients and employees. Bet an advocate for humanity. Be the change that you want to see in the world. This starts by incorporating these Systems of Operation into your practice.
Are you unsure about where to start? Try watching this Instagram video from actress Marisol Nichols. For instance, human rights – and feeling comfortable when seeking treatment and assistance should not be out of reach for anyone.
To learn more about joining a network of physical therapy practices and owners that follow these beliefs, look into joining the BetterPT network. Understandably, the focus of in-network clinics is to provide HIPAA compliant services to patients. This is done via both in-person and via telehealth options. Both options prove that BetterPT values efficiency and personalization when it comes to patient care. It doesn’t matter where a clinic or facility is located. Patients and clinic staff always deserve to receive the support that they need.
For many, physical therapy is a personal and deeply meaningful experience. Discrimination has no place in the field.
Promoting equality, diversity and inclusion go hand in hand with providing quality healthcare.
Brian Gallagher is the president and owner of MEG Business Management and has more than 27 years of rehabilitation experience and nearly 20 years in business, Brian’s focus is on helping others. His specialty areas include physical therapy practice management, executive coaching, and restructuring practices to encourage efficient operation. On top of this, Brian also has extensive speaking experience with regard to marketing and public relations.