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Elevator Talk (from AAPMR)

Discussion in 'PM&R' started by MSKmonky, Dec 26, 2008.

  1. MSKmonky

    2+ Year Member

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    What to Say in an Elevator :D


    Imagine yourself entering an elevator. The person next to you asks you a simple question: “What do you do?” Could you answer it before one of you exited the elevator? How would your explanation differ from that of a colleague? Now imagine what would happen if all Academy members used a same message that was consistent with the AAPM&R public education materials and campaigns. The results would be increased awareness and understanding of PM&R.
    To help members communicate in a similar fashion, an “elevator speech” has been created for Academy members to utilize whenever there is an opportunity to promote awareness of the specialty. Sometimes it can be difficult to find the right words when you are put on the spot. The following five bullets can help you respond in a clear and concise manner:

    Question: What do you do?


    Response:


    • I’m a rehabilitation physician – a nerve, muscle, and bone expert.
    • I diagnose and treat injuries or illnesses that affect how you move.
    • My goal is to reduce pain and restore function without surgery.
    • Rehabilitation physicians help patients stay as active as possible at any age.
    • Our broad medical expertise has trained us to diagnose and treat disabling conditions throughout a person’s lifetime.

    At this point, you can explain very briefly in layman’s terms your particular area of focus and how you help patients. For example: “My area of specialty is back pain. I work with patients to identify the root causes of their back pain, and create a treatment plan to alleviate the pain.”
    If you have the time (and the memory), feel free to add this additional point:


    • Rehabilitation physicians take the time needed to accurately pinpoint the source of an ailment…then we design treatments that can be done by the patients themselves or with our medical team.

    If members all use the same “speech,” the messages will be consistent with other Academy members and with the Academy’s outreach activities. The goal is to help consumers better understand the profession. It’s also quite important that you are comfortable expressing these thoughts. Members should feel free to change the sequence of the messages or even some of the words if doing so better reflects your personal style.
     
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  3. PMR 4 MSK

    PMR 4 MSK Large Member
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    Some of my favorites -

    "I stick large needles in people. Basically I cause pain in order to treat it."

    "I do most of what an orthopedic surgeon does, without the knife."

    "I take the best parts or orthopedics, rheumatology, neurology, sports medicine, anesthesia and podiatry and leave out the surgery and things that bore me."

    "I don't fix people, I make their lives better."
     
  4. lobelsteve

    lobelsteve SDN Lifetime Donor
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    If I were to ever have the misforune of being back in the hospital....

    "I don't save lives, I make them worth saving."
     
  5. ampaphb

    ampaphb Interventional Spine
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    Yet another reason to dislike the Academy! What an incredibly stupid approach - yes, let's all walk in lock step, and not tell patients what we do, but rather confuse them with descriptions that could apply to any number of other specialties, while at the same time being insulting to our colleagues.

    "A nerve, muscle, and bone expert" could be a neurologist or an orthopaedist.

    "My goal is to reduce pain and restore function without surgery." - ALWAYS a good idea to disparage a huge sector of the field of medicine, especially when they may well be a significant component of your referral base.

    "Rehabilitation physicians help patients stay as active as possible at any age." - Geriatrics, anyone?

    "Our broad medical expertise has trained us to diagnose and treat disabling conditions throughout a person's lifetime. " Uh, doc, isn't that what my PCP already does?

    And my favorite - "Rehabilitation physicians take the time needed to accurately pinpoint the source of an ailment…then we design treatments that can be done by the patients themselves or with our medical team." Yes, no one else will take time with you, everyone else in medicine are incompetent, mine is the only field that bothers to talk to you - are you kidding me?

    Also, notice the words "physical medicine" and "MSK" are never mentioned - no wonder, since these descriptions were almost certainly concocted by old-guard inpatient-focused members of our field.

    I would challenge you to change the scenario just slightly - you, a patient, and several other members of the medical staff are on the elevator - would you actually ever say ANY of the proposed drivel now?
     
    #4 ampaphb, Dec 27, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2008
  6. PMR 4 MSK

    PMR 4 MSK Large Member
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    Only if I were in a commercial.
     
  7. Disciple

    Disciple Senior Member
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    I agree with the above.

    I'm not a big fan of the whole ambiguous description strategy.

    If I get 10 seconds I'll usually say "non-operative management of Orthopedic conditions, includes thorough examination, procedures, meds and rehab". Not 100% accurate but in my opinion alot better than what's described above.

    If I get another 10 seconds, I'll say "there are also Physiatrists who spend more time in the hospital rehabilitating those with brain damage, paralysis, limb loss, and a whole host of other conditions that may cause disability".
     
  8. drusso

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    I usually say something like, "I'm a physical rehabilitation and pain specialist. We're the medical experts in the causes of disability."

    I find this explanation effective because it 1) distinguishes physical "rehab" from drug "rehab;" 2) establishes that we're specialists; 3) highlights that we're medical experts (ie not therapists); and 4) communicates that I know what kinds of diseases or conditions result in what level of disablement.

    Thus, when my otherwise healthy 45 year olds with fibro want SSI, bogus workplace accomodations, etc I have credibility responding, "Your condition doesn't usually result in that level disablement."
     
  9. predodoc

    predodoc Junior Member
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    Yesterday I was on an interview and asked "how do you explain what you want to do to family members?" I said that I tell them PM&R is like a combo of neurology from the neck down and non-surgical orthopedics.
    I was then asked "what about TBI?". I said I usually dont bring that up unless they want to know more just because that confusues them.

    I was being honest with her and I think she liked my response. but who knows.
     

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