Reflections from National Student Conclave

National Student Conclave (NSC) has been my favorite conference since I was a DPT student and the reason has not really changed over the last 5 years. I have always considered this conference to be equivalent to hitting the refresh button on my professional goals to get me through the rest of the year just by surrounding myself with our future therapists.   If you have ever attended this conference as a student or a professional, I am sure you will agree.

This year over 900 DPT and PTA students took Providence, RI by storm.

You could feel the excitement as students made their way in and out of meetings, were having discussions on issues the profession is facing over coffee in the Student Neighborhood, and asking the hard questions on residency and continuing education to many vendors in the exhibit hall.

These students are ready to take action and that is the most refreshing of all. They are not yet bogged down by the day to day clinic life with notes to finish, MD phone calls to return, and patient follow-up emails to write. They are excited, open-minded and ready to take the profession by the horns.

If you could bottle this up and sell it, I am sure clinics would be buying in bulk and slipping it into the water cooler at work.

The common theme I kept hearing from students was community or family.  At this conference students feel a sense of community in being surrounded by others who are as passionate as they are. If you were on social media, you couldn’t scroll without seeing #PTfam. To me that speaks volumes. We shouldn’t have to wait for students (or practicing therapists) to feel supported and excited once a year at a conference.

My question is how can we keep this excitement and potential alive year-round? What advice do you have for students or practicing clinicians so they don’t have to wait for the next conference to stay empowered?

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