Hey, everyone. Last time I wrote I was getting done with a whirlwind of final exams and getting ready for a much-anticipated 2-week break. Today, as I write, I am back in the swing of things with classes – 3 weeks into a new module: module IV.
By the way, if you are wondering if I like having a module schedule instead of a semester schedule, the answer is yes – the module schedule allows us to really focus on a set of classes for 2 or 3 or 4 months, check those off our list, and move on to a whole new set. With everything going on, it leaves little time for boredom – before you know it, you are preparing for midterms and then finals – but that has been how this past 8 months has been here – at first 3 years of school sounded like a lot, but I see more and more each day how fast time goes here!
When I came back to campus after break, I knew that this module was going to be totally different than the past three. For the first three modules, we focused on the basics of everything from anatomy to physiology, research to PT science (where we learned basic techniques)…and for all of those classes, the basic routine was to read, study and just learn the material. Now, we are taking it to a totally different level in that just reading and knowing the material is not enough – we need to know how to interpret it – how we would actually use it to make decisions in the clinic.
This module is known as the musculoskeletal module, so our professors are preparing us for being able to go out and practice in an orthopedic setting (back pain, knee pain, ankle pain, etc). Our first major topic we started with was learning about patients with low back pain. About 2 weeks ago, our professor told us that in about 8 DAYS, we would be ready to take a patient’s history, do an initial examination, and start an intervention – and all I could think was, “What? I am not so sure about that.” Well, 2 weeks after she said that, I am quite surprised to say that, yes, if I were in a clinic today with a patient experiencing low back pain, I would not be completely lost ☺ I for sure would not be perfect, and I would definitely want a PT around to help me out, but I do feel confident that I would at least know how to start!
Our professors have made it quite clear that practicing this stuff is the only way we will begin to feel comfortable and really grab hold of the problem solving that is required…and that is so true…at first, thinking about trying to run through a pretend case study was very intimidating – but after just trying it out once, I began to feel a new confidence that I can do this…and it is OK not to know it all right now…but to just give it ‘a-go’ and see what I know. That is what it is all about – learning, practicing, making mistakes and learning more.
While everything can definitely feel overwhelming – and while you question yourself as to whether or not you can really soak up all the information that is thrown your way – you can…and when you actually challenge yourself to try some of this stuff out, to try to put the information into practice and reason through it, you see that you know much more than you thought you did.
All in all, I can definitely say that I am being challenged physically, mentally, and emotionally more than I ever have been in my life – and while I would be lying if I said that I do not struggle with this at times, I know that it would not be worth it if it was easy. This is why I am here – to be challenged to become the best individual and physical therapist I can be – and I can say without a doubt that I am in the process and am being molded to become just that.