Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus…

Is There a Santa Claus? was the title of an editorial appearing in the September 21, 1897, edition of The (New York) Sun. The editorial, which included the famous reply “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”, has become an indelible part of popular Christmas folklore in the United States and Canada.

The story starts when an eight-year-old girl asks her father whether Santa Claus really existed. He suggested she write to The Sun, a prominent New York City newspaper at the time, assuring her that “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.”

In other words if it is in print then it has to be true. This belief has been adapted to every advancement in media from Magazines to Television and now with the Internet. The gullible nature of the general population to believe and trust everything they see on internet is very alarming.

The power of the internet has brought us such wonderful things:
• Multiple, easy and quick modes of communications
• Shopping – for everything and anything you could ever want or need
• Education, research abilities- there is absolutely nothing that you can not learn about on the web.
• Collaboration between Professionals
• and so much more!

It is truly amazing what we have accomplished in such a short time. However, there is a down side to all this free flowing information. There are those who choose to take advantage of public gullibility and present themselves as experts. They sit behind their keyboards and spew opinions, they record themselves inaccurately demonstrating techniques and exercises that they have never been trained or certified in. They offer up advice and promises that are just outright dangerous.

What these self proclaimed experts are actually proficient in is marketing. They know how to find an audience and give them just enough to convince them to believe. Unfortunately it does not take much these days.

Even our Healthcare professionals are turning to the web for their training. If I told you that surgeons are allowed to watch videos and then go perform the procedures, what would your reaction be? Pretty scary to think that you, a family member or client could be operated on by someone who just watched a video.

I can not tell you the number of emails I receive advertising “Live Hands On webinars”… “get your professional continuing education credits without ever having to leave your own home or office.” In other words without ever actually putting your hands on a body to experience the application of the technique, without ever experiencing how it feels to receive the technique, without anyone to correct your body mechanics or observe/correct your misinterpretation of the lecture/demo. But hey you saved time and money.

Now if you are thinking that it is not the same we are not Surgeons, I will tell you that is a cop out. We are Professionals who lay hands on our clients. Clients who are trusting that we are qualified and fully trained in our techniques. That we did not just watch a video or attend a three hour CEU course.

I really do not know which is scarier, that the public so readily excepts all that they see on the web (whether it be Facebook, Youtube or professional websites) as truth or that Health care professionals are willing to forgo quality training to save a few bucks.

Technology can be both good and bad, how you use it determines which it is. There is a ton of useful information that can be utilized by both the general public and Healthcare Professionals but there is a point where it becomes detrimental. You must research the qualifications and sources from which you glean the information and always look for opposite opinions so you can make an informed decision about its validity. As a healthcare professional you must honor the trust given to you by your clients and seek out proper qualified professional training.

6 thoughts on “Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus…

  1. “If I told you that surgeons are allowed to watch videos and then go perform the procedures, what would your reaction be? Pretty scary to think that you, a family member or client could be operated on by someone who just watched a video.”
    That statement does make it sound pretty scary, but when you think about it, maybe it isn’t as scary as it may first appear. This isn’t a layperson watching a video and then being allowed to perform surgery, this is a surgeon who has been trained and has experience and is perhaps watching a different procedure or a procedure he currently performs but being done in a new way. I don’t think it is quite as scary as it first sounds.
    Given that all sorts of nonsense appears on the web and is taken by many as being the truth when it is nothing short of rubbish.
    Technology can be both good and bad, not everything online is truthful or even worth the time it takes to read. but it also can allow us do participate, discover and learn in new and exciting ways.

    • Thanks for sharing Trevor! I would love to agree with you in regard to the scariness but I have several surgeons as client’s who say they watch videos on procedures they have never done or are even in their specialty and have then performed the technique essentially using their patients as guinea pigs. One surgeon/client said he makes the choice to go and assist/ work with the Surgeon who’s procedure he wishes to learn. He is not required to by law but could not do it any other way as far as he was concerned (p.s He is the one I recommend to my other clients). Think of how many Massage Therapist’s there are out there and knowing the varying degrees of required education to become one. Would you want a therapist fresh out of school or even a year out to charge you for a session utilizing the Rolfing technique after they just watched a video or webinar?

      I do agree that there is good and bad on the web. As I said in the beginning of the article many wonderful benefits come form the free flowing of information and communications my warning and plea is for everyone to take all with a grain of salt and research before you agree or disagree.

  2. It’s the difference between understanding yourself as a professional and understanding yourself as “hands for hire”. Professionals set their own high standards. Hands-for-hire figure out what’s the cheapest and easiest way to do it to meet the minimum necessary requirements.

    What’s more disturbing is this: how do they (surgeons or MTs) view the client on the table when they’ve been “trained” in a modality long distance? As just so much meat? As just a fee?

    I’m biased — very biased — in favor of modality training being required to be in person and live.

  3. Marjorie I am with you! I receive constant messages via social media and e-newsletter all the time ~ many of which haven’t been practicing very long and many who only market and don’t practice at all offering these classes. Unfortunately, our gullible society believes these individuals! As for online hands on, I have never been an advocate for that being a “training”. Just today there was a post on FaceBook about massage therapists who are being exploited and not getting paid well. My reply with limited training of 6 months and not much more training how can we expect to make more and be on the same scale as healthcare professionals? seriously? I think the web provides many benefits, however, I have also found information that is not accurate. After all any one of us can proclaim to be an expert ! It amazes me how many people are gullible. Then as you and I know we get students in our classes who are upset with the webinars they took when they find out they are improperly performing techniques ~ or disappointed in huge classes where it is nearly impossible to get an instructor or their assistant to spend more than a moment, if that, to check your technique. I personally don’t want a therapists learning on me -although I know I have because I have been disappointed with many sessions and it seems to be getting worse. The upside is the technology on the web can provide a preview to techniques that one might be interested in taking rather than wasting money on something they may not be interested after spending tons of money. They also get an opportunity to get a taste of an instructor this way.

  4. It sounds like there are several issues here so I have some questions.

    While there may be unscrupulous marketers who present online courses for credit there are many Highly respected master trainers who also offer DVDs and online courses.

    Is the issue with the unscrupulous marketers or learning online (or by DVD) in general?

    There are many MTs who have a sincere interest in learning new skills, perhaps after witnessing a demo, but the classes they want are either too far away (so they would need to travel, an added expense), the timing of the class isn’t right or the cost is prohibitive. One of the pluses of having a DVD is that you can watch a technique over and over and over again, whereas in a live course you need to get it in one take and have great notes so you understand what you witnessed.

    I don’t take classes for the CE credit. I take classes because I’m interested in the work. If a DVD allows me to get familiar with a technique that has piqued my interest and is available from a credentialed trainer with years and years of experience (and integrity) I think this is a tremendous opportunity to begin right away when the motivation and passion are present.

    This does not replace a live person, which is preferable, of course. I am just curious if the issue you have is with online training in general or just the training from unqualified presenters (which is a very serious issue).

    The online information is a tool. A motivated therapist is going to do all he/she can to become proficient if the passion and interest are sincere and will most likely continue to seek ways to improve which may very well lead to finding a way to take the course live. I find that if I trust a practitioner and believe in their intention to provide the best session they possibly can, I would not have a problem with having them practice new techniques they are trying to master. Haven’t we all had to document training sessions on others as part of our certification requirements whether we’ve taken a class in person or via home study? At some point information was new to all of us. It’s in the practice and feedback and ultimately in our own desire to become proficient that will make us better therapists.

    Just giving some perspective about the value of having quality information accessible to begin the process of learning something new when our interest is at its highest.

    So – if the training DVD is from a quality source and is well explained and documented with a manual, would that make a difference in how you feel around this issue? Just curious.

    • Lisa, Thank you so much for sharing and making the effort to clarify the information being posted. You are right there are several points being made. Unscrupulous marketers are one. People need to be aware that not all they see is quality or accurate information.

      I also believe that there are many topics (Ethics, Anatomy etc) that can utilized the webinar format and the therapists given credit for them. However hands- on training is not one of them (no matter who the instructor is) . I am a huge fan of DVD’s for Introduction to and reviewing of techniques.They are a valuable tool. But they should be used for that purpose only. Credit should not be given for a hands on technique from video training only. Nor should a Therapist list the technique on their service menu if they are not properly trained. Yes it can get expensive but if you want to professionally offer a technique then you need to spend the time and money for the proper education.

      Practicing and documenting the use of new techniques is common practice, however as I mentioned, if the Therapist is practicing something new then it is not ethical ( from my point of view) to A) not inform the client that they are being used to practice on B) nor should the therapist charge for the session.

      Did I cover everything? Let me know!

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