Inside the Internship

After reading our DPT curriculum and discovering that we end the program by going on a 24-week internship, you are probably wondering what it’s like to be at the same clinic for an extended period of time.

As I stated in my first blog entry, I am currently in the acute care setting on the orthopedic/surgical/trauma team.  A typical day consists of evaluating and treating patients that can be on one of 10 different services, including: trauma, general abdominal surgery, oncology, oral maxillofacial surgery, plastics, obstetrics/gynecology, kidney/liver transplant, vascular, urology and orthopedics.

Some specific diagnoses that I evaluate/treat most often include: multiple fractures (pelvis, rib, femur, tibia etc), joint arthroplasty, spinal fusions, liver/kidney transplants, amputations, open reduction internal fixation for fractures, closed reduction external fixation for fractures, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, spinal fractures, general abdominal surgery (appendectomy etc.) and wounds.  My day starts at 8 a.m. and I work until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Weekends in the acute care setting are split among the staff, with each PT being required to work one Saturday or Sunday each month.

I have just finished the twelfth week of my 24-week internship.  What a fantastic feeling to be halfway finished!!! ☺  During the internship, the student is expected to demonstrate the ability to work at an entry level performance, or higher, on the clinical performance instrument, for at least six consecutive weeks.  The clinical performance instrument (CPI) is a grading system used for each of the three clinicals, which you and your CI, rate your performance at midterm and final.  This instrument is explained in more detail during the clinical education class your first year, prior to going out on the first clinical.  Each clinical has its own set of expectations for acceptable performance on the CPI.  Thus far, I have found that Elon’s DPT program has more than prepared me for my clinical rotations and for meeting my performance expectations on the CPI.

Lately, my days have consisted mostly of carrying a full case load independently at the hospital, completing my CPI midterm review, working on my inservice, and reviewing for the board exam.  Prior to leaving for the 24-week internship, Elon distributes a review book for the board exam, for studying while on your internship.

My experience, with being on an extended internship at the same clinic, has been awesome.  So far, I have had ample time to understand how the clinic operates, have developed a rapport with my co-workers, have learned lots of new information from my clinical instructor, and have had the opportunity to grow as a student.


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