Finding Purpose

Hey everyone!  It’s October 1st!  Can y’all believe it’s fall, because I can’t.  I know I haven’t written in a few months, and I am sorry, but I will get back to monthly blog entries starting today.

Well, today is midterm of my third and final two month clinical.  Since I have written, I have finished up another module of class back in June, been on a two-month clinical at UNC Children’s Hospital, and now am halfway through my clinical at a skilled nursing facility (SNF), at a nursing home in Thomasville, NC.

Talk about a broad spectrum of experience I have been able to get from these clinical: small outpatient clinic, fast-paced acute PT at the Children’s Hospital, and extended rehab through the SNF with primarily older individuals.  People continue to ask me where I see myself working as a PT, and honestly, I am still so open to whatever door God opens.

I loved the acute side of things working in a big hospital system because we were on the go all day long, working all the floors of the children’s hospital, as well as working throughout other parts of the hospital, like the hematology-oncology clinic.  I saw such a broad spectrum of patients and learned more than I could have ever imagined.  I worked with infants only a few months old all the way to 23-year-olds.  I worked with patients with unknown diagnoses, developmental delays, subdural and subarachnoid hemorrhages, traumatic brain injuries, status post surgery: posterior spinal fusions for scoliosis, osteotomies of the femur and/or tibia in the lower extremities in patients with cerebral palsy to correct the malalignment of the bony structures due to spasticity of muscles, status post motor vehicle accidents, fractures, Cerebral Palsy, heart conditions: heart surgeries: with sternal precautions, fasciotomies due to Compartment Syndrome, traumatic amputations, burns, and I could keep going.

Even though we had not had our formal “Peds” module yet at Elon, we had been exposed to pediatrics through a course that went through the development of a child, along with common developmental milestones to assess when working with this population.  While on this clinical, I drew on knowledge that I had gained through class, as well as drew as much as possible from my CI and other therapists to learn as much as I could while at this site.  I did not want to leave.

Even though I had become so invested in my role as a student PT at UNC Children’s, I was really looking forward to going to work at the SNF due to the fact that I had never worked in this type of setting.  I have been there one month, and I have loved my time there.  The residents of the nursing home and the patients we see for therapy are such a blessing to me every day.

I feel valued and needed in this facility.  So many of these individuals just need someone to wave at them, smile at them, give them a hug and to be told that they are loved.  That is what I love most about this setting.  I love going down the halls and knowing the majority of the residents’ names, talking with them and hugging them as I go on my way.  Many of these residents do have caregivers and family that visit and spend time with them, but on the other hand, many do not.

My heart has broken more than a few times during the past month when I hear elderly residents calling out for their mother or father, a mother or father who has passed away a long time ago.  My heart has broken when I have to close the door to the locked Alzheimer’s unit, with a resident trying to come to the door, saying “Please don’t close it, please let me out,” and then knocking on the door after I have closed it.  I love these people.  I am getting teared up as I think about it, thinking about how important it is for someone to know someone cares for them.  I will tell you more about my experience at this nursing home in my next blog entry at the end of this month.

Thank you guys for listening to my story, and I hope it encourages you today if you are thinking of pursuing the profession of physical therapy because there are so many settings and so many people who need our help, whether they are needing our skills as a PT or our skills as a human being in just listening and loving them.  I have found purpose in my pursuit of becoming a physical therapist.  Have a great day guys, and I look forward to talking with y’all at the end of October.


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