This was my second APTA conference and it did not disappoint. After attending the 2018 APTA combined sections meeting in New Orleans, I knew I wanted to make attending this conference an annual event. While the vibe of Washington D.C. wasn’t exactly as lively and vibrant as New Orleans with the government shutdown, it was still an event to remember.
What is CSM anyway?
CSM stands for Combined Sections Meeting. It is the annual conference and largest American Physical Therapy Association event each year. This year there were approximately 15,000 students, new graduates, and practicing Physical Therapists in attendance. The event rotates locations each year. In 2018 the conference was held in New Orleans, LA and in 2020, it will be held in Denver, CO! Want to stay in the loop for the Denver conference, click here to join the 2020 CSM group!
What Goes on at CSM?
The conference is a 3 day event consisting of hundreds of continuing education options in the form of 2 hour classes. You can choose from nearly any topic having to do with Physical Therapy. All of the specialty sections of the APTA are represented. So if you only want to take acute care courses, you can do that. If you have varied interests, you can mix it up with courses from orthopedics, oncology, women’s health, neurology, aquatics, global health, pediatrics, sports medicine, etc. The list goes on and on. If you attend all the sessions, you can earn up to 18 live continuing education credits! If sitting in a large lecture hall isn’t your thing and you’d prefer more hands-on continuing education, you can always spend extra time in the exhibit hall. In my opinion, the exhibit hall is where the magic is! There are all sorts of fun Physical Therapy toys, tools, and equipment to play with! If you’ve never ran on an Alter-G, you’ll have your opportunity. You’ll also network with employers throughout the country. You’ll find countless hospitals, outpatient clinics, long-term care facilities, and staffing agencies who are eager to meet your acquaintance. Most booths will either offer some sort of free swag or demo. I can easily spend hours in the exhibit hall exploring all it has to offer.
One other major piece of the exhibit hall is the area that contains all the poster presentations. If you are into research and would like to have a poster presentation at CSM, make sure you submit the application early! This year, I had two friends from PT school who had poster presentations! How awesome is that?!
The Event Isn’t All Work!
With all the museums and many of the tourist attractions in D.C., that were not open because of the government shutdown, we still made the most of our time. This year was an extra special year because I had the opportunity to reconnect with professors from PT school, PT school classmates, colleagues from previous travel assignments, my recruiters, and other traveling therapists. It’s always fun to finally be able to meet other traveling therapists in person after communicating on social media. We made some good memories and had a lot of laughs.
This was the second year I had the opportunity to use my platform as an advocate for new grad Physical Therapists to pursue travel therapy as a viable career option upon graduation. First and foremost, I am a Physical Therapist and I love my job! However, the career path of being a traveling Physical Therapist from the time I graduated PT school has been a blessing in countless ways. It was great to be able to share my passion for this career option with so many new faces and I can’t wait to see what the future brings for us in this field!
Don’t miss out on CSM next year! Join the CSM group on Facebook! There is sure to be a good turnout next year and we’ll be doing some social events and meetups!