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Keepers of the flame
Monday October 1, 2012


I am sure many of you watched the Summer Olympics, from the lighting of the cauldron to the closing ceremonies.

The tradition behind the Olympic torch fascinates me. A relay precedes the arrival of the flame at the Olympic stadium in the host city. The choice of Olympia, Greece, as the departure point emphasizes the profound connection between the ancient and modern games. As we’ve seen, when the flame arrives, the final torchbearer runs into the stadium to light the Olympic cauldron, which remains lit for the duration of the games. Like the messengers who proclaimed the sacred Olympic truce, the runners who carry the Olympic flame carry a message of peace on their journey.

During the games, I received this email from a colleague:

I would like to find out from you and appeal to your wisdom about ... physical therapist training programs, specifically the contract between the academic institution and healthcare facility who trains these students during their clinical rotations. Does the contract between the school and the hospital, for instance, involve monetary compensation to the healthcare facility for agreeing to train the students? If not, would it be feasible for the healthcare facility to demand monetary compensation? I am thinking of the clinical instructors, specifically, in terms of monetary compensation, as training students goes above and beyond their job responsibilities. .. And, lastly, as far as you know, are there any motions or suggestions being discussed in the physical therapy association about this?

I responded that the clinical educational consortium in Florida has had numerous discussions about this issue and has always maintained to "keep the tradition of giving back to the profession alive." Also, I think it is worth noting that during our training, clinical instructors took us under their wings. Aside from passing on their knowledge, they further kindled our desire to become PTs. They are like the torchbearers, and each student is a cauldron.

Seeing the Olympic flame extinguished to signify the end of the games, I found myself whispering, "I hope that this doesn’t happen to our clinical education model." One of my friends said, "Don’t worry, another Olympic cauldron will be lit in four years," to which I responded ... "Yeah, but it won’t be the same." •

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Monday October 1, 2012
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