Thank you to all who replied to my posting regarding nomenclature. A = summary, in several parts, of the responses follows:
I am wondering if there is a general consensus among the P&O community = that the terms “Prosthetics” and “Orthotics” refer globally to the = complete nature of our respective professional practices, or do they = refer only to the actual appliances that we fashion and fit to our = clients?
Your thoughts, please!
Geoffrey Hall, C.P. ( c)
Responses Part 1:
While I would like to try and educate people about the correct use of = the=20 terms “prosthetics” and “orthotics” it’s a battle that I fear we won’t = win.=20 There are simply not enough people who take the time to elaborate on=20 correct terminology. Because of this, prosthetics and orthotics, I feel, =
have become synonymous with the whole field. On a daily basis I hear=20 doctors, physios, OTs using words incorrectly so we might as well accept =
the reality that the language is set up to communicate. If people=20 understand and accept the words then we’ve communicated. The sign at our =
office says “custom orthotics”. It used to say “foot orthoses” but the = vast=20 majority of people didn’t know what that meant. We’d get phone calls = asking=20 if we did foot orthotics. This whole thing reminds me of the movie Wag = the=20 Dog, where Robert DeNiro says “hey, if it’s on TV it must be true”. If=20 people are using prosthetics and orthotics it must be ok?!
Good luck with your research.
Good question! I think a lot of people get this confused. My =
understanding is that the word “prosthetic” is an adjective, not a noun. = A person wears a prosthesis, not a prosthetic, and likewise for = orthosis and orthotic.
My thought has always been that Prosthetics and Orthotics covers the = “field”. Our company is named Great Lakes Prosthetics and Orthotics. = If we are speaking about the devices specifically, we attempt to say = prosthesis, prostheses, orthosis, orthoses. When dealing with specific = patients/clients we may occasionally revert back to brace or artificial = leg. But I even tactfully attempt to educate the patients as well. Why = perpetuate ignorance by speaking at a third grade level?=20
I especially try to use “the Queen’s English” when speaking to other = members of the medical community. A sure fire way to have physicians = and therapists look down their noses at us and roll their eyes when = we’re not looking, is to continue speaking in non-anatomical terms like = up, down, top, bottom, over, and under. I certainly notice an elevated = level of respect when using proximal, distal, superior, inferior, prone, = and supine. When I hear my esteemed colleagues in clinic use terms like = appliance, device, equipment, limbs, stumps, nubbins, and such I cringe = and feel like I’ve been transported 30 years into the past. =20
Since the “field” does not even require a bachelor’s or an advanced = degree these days to be considered a “credentialed” practitioner it is = increasingly more difficult to overcome these obstacles. The “field” = will never be a “profession” unless we increase (not decrease) our = minimum standards. Oh I understand the need to “stand together as one = voice, for the common good of the entire field” blah, blah, blah. But I = see no reason to stand together as one bunch of buffoons. = Unfortunately, we have decided, (excuse me, it was decided for us) that = if my daddy’s daddy learned him how to make a good leg and my daddy = learned me leg makin’ too then we don’t need no stinkin’ school to show = us leg makin’.
Disclaimer follows: I use the previous example as merely an exaggerated = illustration directed at no individual, group, practice, religious = preference, political party affiliation, or sexual orientation. I have = heard and read discussion on this very list serve that is very close to = the sentence above. Good leg makin’ may be home-schooled, but = unfortunately a proper command of the English language, problem solving = skills, biomechanics, materials science, physics, mathematics, = chemistry, ethics, business, physiology, and anatomy is still best = taught at the university level. =20
I’m sorry about the rant and rave answer to your simple question about = nomenclature Geoffrey, but this is just one man’s long winded opinion.=20