I drove by Home Depot the other day and wondered what it would be like to own all the tools in the store. A thought then hit me: If I owned every tool in the store I still wouldn’t be a craftsman. I began to think about healthcare professionals who have or say that they have every technique, device or tool in the world. They acquire every new thing that comes around. Are they really craftsmen? Do they have the ability to use those tools? Do they have a sense of the tissue and what is the right application of force, technique, etc.
I was taught a long time ago when working with tools to master the simplest tools first and then progressively move on to more complex tools. I believe that having a solid foundation in science and evidence-based practice is the first essential step to becoming good as a physical therapist. It is not stuffing your belt full of every tool under the sun. It is about mastering the tools you have.
When I go to a course I tend to find that I learned one or two essential things that help me in my practice. I rarely find the one thing that revolutionizes my practice. I do question others who, every six months, come up with the latest and greatest intervention. Is it really better? What happened to the old “greatest thing”? Is it marketing or is it the truth? I think these are questions that we need to ask ourselves any time we’re about to embark on something, whether it is having a bookcase built, having your car worked on or getting something done with our body. Is the person we see a craftsman or a tool collector?