I am writing this in an airport with fall well underway, magazines and TV shows starting their “end of year” lists, and the New Year looming—which makes it the perfect time to share some resolutions for 2020. The Academy of Acute Care Physical Therapy (AACPT) is resolving to put energy and support behind acute care residency, critical care fellowship, and acute care specialization. I am returning from an American Board of Physical Therapy Residencies and Fellowships-hosted meeting of a panel of acute and critical care experts. This 2-day meeting's goal was to revise the acute care practice analysis originally published in Physical Therapy in 2010,1 and to create a critical care practice analysis. In conjunction with these tasks, the AACPT informed the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties of our intent to apply for recognition of acute care as a specialty area of physical therapist practice. This coordinated move will allow us to use the updated acute care practice analysis for our petition for specialization, as well as for acute care residency education and curriculum development. The new critical care practice analysis will be used for critical care fellowship education and curriculum development. All of these avenues have been in the long-term strategic plan for AACPT stretching back before the 2010 acute care practice analysis. These pursuits represent exciting and challenging areas of work that the AACPT will be pursuing over the next 2 to 4 years.
How can members be involved? Watch your e-mail, Critical EdgEmail, and social media for calls to complete the acute care practice analysis or critical care practice analysis. For these analyses of practice to be valid, we need a variety of those practicing in these areas (as well as some who do not) to complete all or portions of these surveys. If you are invited, find the time to contribute by completing the survey. These surveys are the key in moving forward with specialization, residency education, and fellowship education. We will need all the variety we can get—geographic, practice experience, and practice setting. This is probably the single most important contribution you can make.
Anecdotally, I know from meeting AACPT members at conferences, pub nights, and other events that having acute care recognized as a specialized area of physical therapist practice is an issue near and dear to many of people. For our specialization petition, we will need your support in the form of letters and signatures. We are extremely early in the process, but stay tuned for way your facility, your staff, and you yourself can show your support of acute care physical therapy as a specialized area of practice. Once we have our processes in place, you can expect information via your e-mail, Critical EdgEmail, and social media. Make your voice heard!
Not enough involvement for you with these two? There will be calls for volunteers to serve in work groups and task forces related to this work. Please, now, complete a profile on APTA Engage platform (https://engage.apta.org).2 This new web portal will be used by the AACPT to locate and invite APTA members to serve in a variety of ways as we progress through this process. We will be using this platform for nominations for volunteers to serve, so watch Critical EdgEmail and social media for calls for volunteer opportunities.
Lastly, I am making a plea for your patience. This process is long and complex. The revalidation of the acute care practice analysis and critical care practice analysis will easily take at least a year, maybe more. There will likely be periods where things move quickly, and others where we may feel a bit stuck. What I can tell you is that with the growth in acute care-related research, the increased complexity of our practice, and the growing support both within the acute and critical care community and in the broader physical therapy community, we have more support than ever for these initiatives. What we will need is your action, your support, and your energy. If there is another thing I know, it is that acute care physical therapists are up for the challenge. Here is to an exciting start to 2020!
Sharon L. Gorman, PT, DPTSc
Board-Certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist,
Fellow, National Academies of Practice,
President, Academy of Acute Care Physical Therapy
1. Gorman SL, Wruble Hakim E, Johnson-Pugh W, et al Nationwide acute care physical therapy practice analysis: knowledge, skills and behaviors reflective of acute care specialized practice. Phys Ther. 2010:10(90):1453–1467.
2. American Physical Therapy Association. APTA Engage. https://engage.apta.org/home
. Published 2020. Accessed November 12, 2019.