Online learning: #globalPT : UK to the United States and back

As a presenter and Coventry University delegate to WCPT 2017 in Cape Town I was fortunate to meet several outstanding APTA ( USA Physical Therapy Association )  members like Patricia Wolfe ( APTA Women’s Health President ) and Carrie Pagliano ( APTA Women’s Health Vice president ) and a host of others.

Traditionally educational or training seminars were events that you booked onto and did usually at the weekend outside of work hours but you always had to turn up yourself. Online seminars have been around for some time now but was something I had dabbled with but hadn’t really fully committed to. Attendance at weekend courses has become more challenging as lots of people work at the weekends now including the NHS and universities, almost all private clinics are open weekends and sports physios have their busiest time at the weekends. Life also is busy juggling work, kids, family and other activities.

On Facebook I saw an APTA online seminar advertised on the topic of


“AIUM/APTA Webinar: MSK RTUS in & Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Practice” on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM EST Women’s Health as presented by Carrie Pagliano, PT, DPT, OCS, WCS, MTC and Megan Poll PT, DPT, OCS.

This is a topic I have an interest in as one of my undergraduate students Jessica Jecketts  did her BSc dissertation on the optimum instructions to use with males to recruit their pelvic floor and she used US imaging as the outcome measure. Coventry University Physiotherapy  has a long history of pioneering the use of US in MSk physiotherapy with one of the 1st MSc modules and it forms a key part of the current Injection Therapy module. Clinically my colleagues and I were using more and more US imaging with both our male and female pelvic health patients. However, there isn’t much CPD delivered in the area of US in Pelvic health physio so the Online seminar really jumped out at me and it was free of charge,  although I would happily have paid for it. Signing up was easy and took about 2 mins and an email confirmation appeared with all the details. I do wonder how many people sign up but don’t then participate. I have been guilty of this on one occasion myself signing up to a seminar that was delivered at 4am but I did watch it at a later time so my conscience is relatively clear.

The podcast starting time was 12am as it was being delivered by Carrie & Megan on the East Coast. Despite the urge to go to sleep I stayed up, head phones on,  signed in and quite amazingly I was listening to them live from the States on my phone. The content was excellent, topical, evidence based and clinically relevant, sound quality crystal clear and well synchronised with the slides which a lot of work had gone it to as they had the key points but were decluttered of any unnecessary text or details.

Though-out the presentation there was an opportunity to submit questions which I did and it was a little surreal when Carrie, who I had met in Cape Town from APTA called out my question. I will watch the seminar again as 12-1am is possibly not the ideal time to have to concentrate on quite detailed content. However, that aside , I found the whole experience inspirational and definitely  felt part of a global pelvic health Physiotherapy or Physical Therapy community for that hour. The seminar was followed up by some discussion on social media via and also on some of the pelvic health facebook groups.

While face to face teaching will always have a place in Physiotherapy post graduate education I can see a growing role for online seminars especially in very specialised areas of practice like Ultrasound Imaging in male and female pelvic health where there may not be a local or even national peer group. I have seen this also with my friend and colleague Darren Brown where his Physiotherapy in HIV/AIDS is a global community rather than a UK based one.

I am now on the lookout for my next online seminar and I am definitely converted to them. It will also be exciting to see how Coventry University Physiotherapy could convert some of their content to an online platform.

Gerard Greene MSc Physio

Senior Lecturer Physiotherapy

Coventry University