Does our APA LISTEN or SPEAK to members?

Driving home with my son from basketball at 10.30pm last night, we caught part of ABCs LNL with Phillip Adams. He was talking with Gloria Steinen about her new book "My Life on the Road". You can hear the full interview here

Gloria highlighted an important realisation she had when it came to negotiation and mediation. To paraphrase; when discussing an issue with parties in different positions of power, it was important that if you had more power, you listened and talked less i.e. consult more, dictate less. If you were in the situation of less power, you needed to talk more and listen less i.e. speak your viewpoint and not hide from the issue. Gloria explained from her experience, both positions could be challenging.

In light of recent decisions made by the APA it has become abundantly clear;

  • The APA membership clearly doesn't want the APA to put limits on professional development through any financial or restrictive practices
  • Likewise, the membership is clearly saying it wants the APA to facilitate members professional development

From its position of greater power, if the APA was clearly LISTENING and not TALKING to the membership, it would;

  1. Reverse the unpopular decision to restrict members' access to any professional development opportunities. How can the APA say that a fully paid up APA member is an 'external provider'?
  2. Likewise, reverse the restriction on utilization of APA facilities by APA members, when providing PD training. Perhaps limit non APA members from using facilities, but first discuss and evaluate this impact on revenue stream
  3. Continue with the discount provided to APA members when they advertise in their APA member publications, but increase it to 25%
  4. Move all APA publications to an online platform in line with sustainability best practice. Thereby demonstrating environmental leadership, reducing the APA's carbon footprint* and eliminate costs associated with printing and distribution
  5. When emailing out monthly PD newsflashes, provide members with access/links to all relevant professional development opportunities. Practically this would mean including relevant courses run by the APA, non APA courses run by APA members e.g. AAP Education and non APA courses run by non members e.g. online course to credential diabetes educators. Members want easy access to information on PD in one place, saving time searching potentially multiple sites. The APA has this capacity, why make this task harder for members?

* APA 2012 Climate Change & Health position paper. "Physiotherapists have a responsibility to reduce their own contributions of greenhouse gas emissions, and the Australian physiotherapy profession can positively impact on the environment by reducing its own carbon footprint through a culture of environmental sustainability"

Adding your Voice

As Gloria Steinen said after 50 years of activism and experience, now is the time for those in less power to speak up

Best wishes

Doug Cary FACP
Specialist Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist (awarded by Australian College of Physiotherapy, 2009)
PhD Candidate Curtin University
Clinical Director AAP Education


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