AMT Chairperson Summer Message
By Michelle McKerron
For some of us, this time of year heralds a long overdue and much anticipated holiday. For those of us starting the rebuilding of businesses and clientele, it is an opportunity to work hard and set up for the New Year. Either way, I imagine a lot of people want to say farewell to the old year and embrace the possibilities of the new.
I don’t want to awkwardly sugar-coat it or cast it aside with an over-used ‘Happy New Year’. It’s too serious to be flippant. However, we are adults who know that these times come and go, and that the least we can do is try to equip ourselves to bear hard times such as this past year has thrown at us.
We are realists. So much of our work is about keeping our messages honest. ‘Some degeneration is normal at this stage of life’, ‘I can help with pain management but what you do at home will be of such benefit’, ‘Yes, I can fit you in 3 times a week for the next 10 years, but can I please, please encourage you to see this specialist?’
We keep it real for our clients, their families, ourselves. And this year AMT has done its utmost to keep it real for the therapist body it supports. No one could have predicted the severity or speed of the changes that occurred due to COVID-19, so it is with an immense amount of pride that I look upon the work delivered by the AMT Head Office team, the AMT Board and some particular friends and allies of AMT. This work kept members sane, afloat, informed, with somewhere to turn and, most importantly, gave hope when there was little.
3 Cheers For AMT Head Office Staff
We have such a resourceful team in Head Office, who amidst the personal stress suffered from the pandemic and unable to work together from the office, still produced amazing resources. For example, the regular Zoom check-ins featuring up-to-date info on everything we needed to know or at least what could be accurately gleaned from Government communications. It was so encouraging to see Scott Lloyd-Owen and Rebecca Barnett delivering straightforward answers amongst all the confusion; often messaging ahead of what was being delivered to us from other channels. Also, these Zooms gave us the lovely opportunity in a time of isolation to meet the staff (virtually) face-to-face, who gave us tips on getting the most out of our memberships, including various resources on the AMT website.
So, my first ‘thank you’ is to the hard-working staff at AMT. All year, they have been answering calls, emails and letters, generously allowing people to tell their stories and hoping to offer some relief for whatever the issue. And for the brilliant work of providing documents, press releases, letters to forward to ministers and health officials, to elevate the understanding of massage therapy in the public domain. It hasn’t been easy for anyone, and so we do express our appreciation for sticking at it through some very, very bleak weeks.
Standing Up and Standing Out
AMT’s almost immediate response to build a Biosecurity Planning Committee was a stroke of genius!
It has not only set AMT apart as an industry leader by providing a clear statement to the health industry that we know what we are talking about and welcome enquiries but, simply put, it kept AMT members in a position of power through knowledge.
AMT was able to provide a blueprint of COVID-19 appropriate care for those in our circles which, as a massage therapist looking after my clients in my small suburb away from the political side of this situation, was a sheer relief!
I tip my hat once again to those volunteers who worked behind the scenes on the committee. Our sincere and heartfelt thanks to you! The enthusiasm is still evident as we continue to receive information. I have no doubt the membership and others will reap the rewards of such thorough documentation and information for generations of therapists to come. What a legacy!
Thank You AMT Board
The AMT Board took a strong stance on 16 March when we advised members to close their clinic doors. I hope we can agree that as AMT represents a national body of therapists in all kinds of different working conditions, the Association really did take the only position it could to suit the totality of those we represent. We showed our values, care and commitment for the long-term benefit of therapists and clients, particularly the vulnerable. I know I’d be happy to stand by that if we had to do it all again.
Thank You AMT Members
To those who moved their membership to AMT during the pandemic, thank you for trusting AMT to represent you.
Lastly, I thank the members who have remained loyal to AMT and stood with us this year.
So, What Next?
We’re going to continue to ‘keep it real’. No one can confidently say what we’ll find around the corner. An effective vaccine? An uneventful year of managing masks, spacing and our vulnerable clients? Or more clusters and clinic shutdowns. What we can be assured of is that AMT will continue to support members in the same professional manner as it has always done, to the best of our ability.
Phew! We Made It
I wish you the summer that you need, whether that be busy working with clients in need, using down time to do some reflections, or totally switching off from the whole thing.
Here’s to 2021!
About the Author
Michelle McKerron is currently representing AMT members in the role of Chairperson of the Board of Directors. It’s a role she takes seriously because, as a Massage Therapist herself, she knows what it’s like to be working in the industry and wants to encourage members to continue the tradition that AMT holds in standing up for excellent massage therapy in Australia. Michelle is relying on tea to get her through each day and may collapse in a heap at 7.45pm (exactly) after her last client on the 22nd.