5 Inservice Ideas for Physical Therapy

Looking for some fresh inservice ideas for your physical therapy team? Here are 5 innovative and practical ways to enhance your staff's knowledge and skills.

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5 Inservice Ideas for Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a rewarding career field that uses non-invasive medical techniques to heal and treat injuries and chronic conditions. Periodically, practices will hold inservice days for their team and organization. Inservice days, while enjoyable, are intended to help practicing medical professionals grow their knowledge base to assist their patients and practice better.

Physical therapy inservice topics can range from manual therapy ideas to business basics, all geared toward advancing the physical therapy field. Using an inservice day to earn continuing education credits may help meet a state requirement while addressing pain management techniques could suggest innovative new methods to use with ailing patients.

Main Takeaways From This Article:

  • Inservice days help you provide training and enrichment for your PT staff to further their career and increase their impact on your patients.
  • When choosing your inservice topics, cater to your PT staff's interests and common topics or questions your patients ask.
  • When presenting your inservice topic, make sure you present your materials in a digestible way, involve your audience, and ensure comprehension.

5 Inservice Ideas for Physical Therapists

Inservice days are meant to be helpful for all team members and should be relevant, educational, and beneficial. Keeping your audience active through hands-on, live demonstrations, or interactive quizzes can help keep a large group engaged. Make your presentation targeted to specific patients or common injuries to keep the information relevant while covering valuable material.

1. Manual Therapy Techniques

Understanding manual therapy techniques is essential for physical therapy and is an excellent inservice topic. Manual therapy involves the practitioner using their hands to manipulate the soft tissue or joints. Manual therapy is essential for physical therapists to help reduce swelling and inflammation, improve range of motion, and reduce pain.

Manual therapy is often the first line of defense for acute pain and is a valuable resource for treating painful injuries. Using your inservice day to learn more about manual therapy techniques can cover a range of conditions applicable to numerous patients.

Chiropractic Therapy

Often used to treat joint pain or target mobility issues, chiropractic therapy focuses on the musculoskeletal system. The most common type of chiropractic therapy is spinal manipulation or spinal adjustment.

Massage Therapy

Using massage therapy involves applying targeted pressure to the soft tissues. Cover one or several massage therapy techniques during an inservice day, including percussion, compression, effleurage, tapotement, and petrissage massage techniques.

Myofascial Release

This therapy can help release bound fascia, creating smooth and supple tissue surrounding the muscles. Massaging the fascia tissue can help restore fluid muscle motion.

Cupping Therapy

While one of the oldest manual therapy techniques, cupping is also one of the most popular, especially among athletes. Cupping has several benefits for the patient, including a reduction in pain and inflammation with an increased blood flow and lymph flow to help heal an injury.

There are countless resources for physical therapists related to manual therapy methods and techniques. Between educational handouts, online refreshers, and continuing education opportunities, you'll have your choice of manual therapy inservice topics. Alternatively, a live demonstration showing a particular technique could be a valuable lesson.

2. Pain Management Strategies

Physical therapy is a common resource for people suffering from pain related to a chronic condition or an acute injury. Nearly 46% of physical therapy patients seek pain management treatment for pain associated with a spinal condition or injury. Another 41% of patients seek a drug-free pain management option following a procedure or surgery.

With about half of all physical therapy patients searching for pain management strategies, it's no wonder that pain management is a popular inservice topic. Pain management strategies are applicable for everyday use in treating patients, and the techniques are continually evolving and advancing.

While presenting pain management strategies, cover the benefits of using a multidisciplinary approach to your patient's pain management. Benefits include:

  • A well-rounded approach to treating pain, often without surgical intervention or medication
  • Faster recovery time from both injury and chronic pain
  • Ability to target mental and physical aspects of pain management
  • Lower medical costs and the toll on medical professionals
  • Measured reduction in pain and pain-related mental conditions such as depression and anxiety

Some alternative pain management strategies that are great inservice ideas include cognitive-behavioral therapy, art therapy, laser therapy, or restorative pain therapy.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with the choices, consider narrowing your pain management strategies to a specific gender, patient population, or age group that mirrors your patient demographics. Or, use a case study or research articles to discuss various applicable pain management strategies.

3. Patient Education

While it would be ideal to work with patients around the clock, it's not always possible in physical therapy. Much of the healing and recovery process from injury occurs in the patient's home, meaning patient education is vital to overall success and wellness.

Patient education comes in many forms, from teaching patients how to perform physical therapy exercises themselves to helping patients understand their injury or condition, possibly changing their attitude or perception of health and wellness. When patients fully understand their injury and how to heal, they can recover faster and have a better quality of life.

There are several ways to ensure your patient understands and learns from you. Some of the best patient education strategies include:

  • Using plain language
  • Printouts or handouts for the patient to reference at home
  • Ask the patient to teach the information back to the therapist to ensure comprehension
  • Follow up with education shared with the patient

Dedicating an inservice day to patient education benefits everyone at your physical therapy practice. All team members can benefit from learning practical communication skills between patients and PTs. Online resources offer several tools to help you evaluate your current patient education materials and communication styles. Download some educational brochures for patient education and assess their effectiveness for different patients as a team.

4. Continuing Education Courses

Most states require physical therapists to enroll in continuing education courses every year (or two years); using an inservice day could help you kill two birds with one stone. You'll be able to provide relevant, real training for your team to help them achieve their personal goals, and you can help them meet state requirements to remain a practicing physical therapist.

There are plenty of options for continuing education courses, so make sure the course aligns with your personal and professional goals. Some common types of continuing education courses for physical therapists include:

  • Back to Basics - These courses offer a good refresher for physical therapists of all ages and abilities.
  • New Research - Listen to others share their groundbreaking research and apply their findings to your patients. Current research can spark discussion and increase participation within your group.
  • Technology - Learn about new technology in your specific field. Consider learning about different therapy tools, surgeries, or surgical devices. Think about having a representative from the medical company come talk to your facility.
  • New Techniques - Take a new course to learn a specialty treatment or advance your knowledge of innovative techniques. Specialty techniques could include myofascial release, dry needling, or learning about neurophysiology and how it applies to physical healing.

Continuing education could be an employer-sponsored class to provide a learning opportunity for all team members. There are annual physical therapy conferences your team can attend. Or, have one person attend the conference and conduct an inservice day detailing what they learned at the event.

5. Clinicians' Business Skills

Honing your business skills as a physical therapist is becoming increasingly important. With the rapid growth of technology and the availability of medical resources, therapists must constantly balance providing quality medical care with innovative treatment options and the overall cost to achieve organizational goals. In today's medical landscape, a successful physical therapist must have high business acumen.

Growing your business know-how is possible with various available resources for physical therapists. Some great strategies to develop business skills include:

Opportunities to sharpen your business skills come in several forms, from continuing education seminars, workshops, or online courses.

Remember, like the medical industry, business skills can evolve in many forms. Think outside the box; a class in social media marketing or internal marketing could help you achieve long-term business goals for your own practice.

Tips for Presenting and Attending Inservice Opportunities in 2023

Teaching patients new techniques is easy, but presenting to your peers, coupled with public speaking, can be intimidating. Remember that your peers are there to learn and share like you. Hosting a successful, interactive, and beneficial in-service day consists of the following:

Know Your Audience

Before putting together an inservice presentation, consider your audience. While you'll be presenting to your peers, understand that everyone in the room will have a different ability and knowledge level. Consider your audience's age, physical therapy concentration, typical clientele, and experience level.

Create Digestible Content

A full day of soaking up knowledge can be exhausting. Understand that a typical person can only absorb so much content, no matter how engaging. Be sure to create digestible content with mixed media. Small videos, demonstrations, or sound clips help break up otherwise monotonous text-filled slides. Be sure to have a summary of key "takeaways" featuring the main ideas after concluding each section of your presentation.

Consider Your Clientele

While the ultimate goal of any physical therapy practice is to help patients, remember that your office is also a business. Ultimately, you want to create content during your inservice day to benefit your peers and your clients. Ensure your educational content applies to your current clientele so your peers can gain real everyday value from their day of learning.

The Bottom Line: Take Your Career or PT Practice to New Levels

Innovative PT inservice ideas allow you to connect and share vital information to further your career. Understanding how to custom-create inservice topic ideas to cater to your physical therapy office can help you grow your practice and skill set.

Further your career more by upgrading your office's tech and software. Revolutionary software can help manage your daily tasks, giving you more time to help your patients. Test MWTherapy for a full thirty minutes without any commitment on your part. Change how your office does business, and dedicate more of yourself to treating your patients.

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