We are exactly halfway done with our first clinical! As I finish up the intricate evaluations for midterm clinical education, I’m forced to reflect on the past four weeks.
In some ways, I have lost certain skills that we practiced for hours in lab. On the other hand, I have an entirely new skill set that I had never practiced before. As clinical students, we walk a fine line. We are taught under a certain style and are up on the latest evidence, and then we’re set free to clinics that may or may not support what we learned. Every PT has their own style, as do most clinics.
Nobody’s clinical experience has been the same yet. It’s a daily challenge to find our own style by which to practice, while fitting in under our clinic’s style. However, getting hands-on experience and practice with real patients highlights our strengths and weaknesses.
I’ve had the chance to tour the new building—wow! I still can’t believe it’s the building we’ll be coming back to in a month. There’s so much space, everything is new, and it has all the best technology. It’s unreal.
We’re finalizing our lists for our six months clinical in our third year. With that “on the horizon,” PT as a career and a future seems more tangible. It also brings the responsibility and the bigger decisions to the forefront. The pressure is on: pick your specialty (ortho, acute, inpatient) at a clinic/hospital with the best PTs (experience, continuing education) in a location that you can handle for 6 months. So far, I still plan on a future in orthopedics, but I am also trying to figure out which institution I want to study under as a PT (Evidence in Motion, IAOM, NAIOMT), and whether a residency is the best option. Time will tell.