Glass Half Empty or Half Full? What's NEXT; Mike Ukoha, DPT

For those that don’t know, APTA’s NEXT conference provides a platform offering diverse, forward-thinking programming at the completion of the APTA House of Delegates (HOD). More importantly it provides an energy with the profession’s brightest clinicians and students looking for progress for the profession and the patient experience.

My first exposure to HOD and NEXT was as a student usher from University of Maryland-Baltimore when the conference was hosted in Washington DC in 2015. From that time until now as a recent graduate, I’ve become friends with so many people that inspire me to do more for my district, my state, and my profession. Each year I have found myself building my visions and purpose as a future clinician. NEXT 2017, hosted in Boston, MA was no different.

This year there was so much to be excited for. The McMillan Lecture, the Oxford Debate, and meeting up with #PTFam throughout my stay. At times as a student it was hard to overcome the stress and focus required to continue in my program. As most students would agree you often find yourself simply focusing on the next assignment, the next class, or the next clinical rotation. However, during my experience as a student usher it was the first time I could have my mind clear enough to see and engage in bigger issues within the profession.

opics ranging from leadership to innovative treatments for various patient populations. Aside from taking a break from class, it presented a feeling of inclusion and purpose. It reminded me how much I love my profession and how much we have to offer to impact our respective communities. So right about now (early July) there’s a couple paths happening in the PT profession. Some individuals are starting full time clinical rotations, new graduates are taking board exams or starting work, and others are changing the world one patient at a time as we speak. But what’s next?

On most occasions, people attend these conferences (NEXT, CSM, etc) have a euphoria for a few days and often crash back into the reality of school or work. If there’s anything I took away this year it was this: Don’t let that energy go away. Take that energy into clinical rotations, into your patient evaluations, and into all aspects of your life. That energy and balance will carry you places you never thought you could go. You should keep your glass half full. Always remember when times are challenging in patient care or school take a step back and see the bigger picture. We are the change we seek in this healthcare space.

I’ll leave you with two quotes that set the tone for conference for me. Both from one of the most honest and encouraging sessions at NEXT this year (Finding Your Purpose: Across the Generations)

“If you have a mindset geared towards convenience, comfort, and the expected, you’ll never have room to achieve the things you want” | Scott McAfee (@McAfeePT)
“You owe it to yourself to find what makes you happy, what fulfills you, what makes you want to get up in the morning everyday” | Joe Black (@joeblackdpt)

Thanks for your reading. Take Care.

Mike Ukoha, PT, DPT



Mike Ukoha, PT, DPT