Monthly Archives: February 2013

Clinical Check-in

Off to Venice…Florida that is, for a little fun in the sun before beginning the neuro module that starts in a little less than a week! As for my first clinical experience, at Brunswick Novant Medical Center (BNMC), it ended in great success. In this out-patient setting, I learned more than I could have imagined, gained a little confidence in my abilities, and made friends that will last a lifetime.

During our clinical experience we, the students, complete a midterm and a final self-assessment. Our clinical instructor (CI) completed the same assessments pertaining to us also. This was a great tool to help us assess what our strengths and weaknesses are as well as receive feedback, including comments and suggestions, from our CI. I definitely grew as a physical therapist from the beginning to the end of my experience.  I am grateful that I had an amazing CI who gave me feedback on a regular basis (sometimes several times throughout the day).  She was a wealth of knowledge, and while she complimented me on my strengths, she provided constructive criticism and helpful feedback when it came to areas I needed to improve upon.

I absolutely loved working in an out-patient setting.  In such a setting, there is constant variety. I was able to treat patients from 12-years-old to 92- years-old.  I saw patients after having surgeries (ie: total knee/hip arthroplasty, cervical fusions, etc.), those with general fatigue and muscle weakness, and others with shoulder issues like frozen shoulder (aka: adhesive capsulitis).  These were just a few of symptoms I was able to treat while interning at the out-patient clinic at BNMC.  My clinical instructor worked with patients with vertigo and vestibular issues as well as various orthopedic involvements.  This variety really appeals to me. While I still think there is a part of me that has a heart for the population I’d be treating in a skilled nursing facility, I believe I would be more satisfied with a career in an out-patient setting.

For now, I plan to relax and enjoy the next few days with my husband and his family in Florida.  I know the neuro module, that awaits us, will be long and hard. This is what everyone who has completed it says. I am willing to continue to work hard, put in long hours of studying, and search for the answers when they seem impossible to find because in the end, I know it’ll be worth it!

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The New Kid on the Block – Meet Amanda, DPT Class of 2015

“Coffee is continuously running through my veins to keep me awake, my shoulders are permanently slumped to keep me gazed over pages of mundane material, my right hand is developing arthritis to deny my unyielding notes, and clouds of loneliness befit me to forever be in relation with books, notes, and the drone of the Francis Center on every night.”

If this was my existence after two months into the DPT program, it would be a bitter and dreadful road.  I’m here to tell you, as a first year physical therapy student at Elon University, my expectations of this program, my classmates, the professors, and life as I know it, has been blown out of the water. I dare say that my 52 classmates would echo this. The last two months have been simply amazing.

This is exactly where I am supposed to be.

When we first entered the doors of the Francis Center on January 8, anticipation and excitement of the unknown was electrifying. The onset of our first module drove us deep into the psychosocial realm of healthcare. This course transitioned our minds from stagnation to thinking as a physical therapist. We also tackled insurance terms and wrapped our minds around the recent Health Care Reform.  A few moans rose from our seats at times. These courses plus a few others were structured such to give us time to make a smooth transition into a new place with new people. I was so grateful for this!

Many of us came from out-of-state as well as areas outside the Elon community.  Coming from Michigan, I was anxious about what my new North Carolina life was going consist of. I felt like I was going to a party in which I knew absolutely no one. To be honest, I was a hot mess. But after a few hours into orientation, I lost track of all my fears. And now after a few months, I feel like I’m at home with 52 great new friends. We have been able to grab dinner or coffee, have movie nights, travel to Greensboro and Chapel Hill, and of course have study groups. My class is my new family and I won’t trade them for anything.

As I transitioned from a hot mess to someone who is cool, calm and collected all the time(ha), module 2 entered my life and things got brain crazy. About a month ago we started a new module in which the course load stepped up its game. We were ready though and we are tackling it with tact. We met our teachers in anatomy. Being able to work with a human donor is such a neat experience. I am absolutely loving it. It astonishes me every lab to gaze upon the intricacies within our bodies. It really is quite something.  We are being challenged with a lot of information; yet, when the material is so applicable and interesting, studying is, do I dare say, fun?

And this goes for all of our courses at the present. It really is a good time with amazing professors leading us onward. The professors I have worked with for the past two modules hold incredible intelligence, compassion, and vibrancy for life.

All in all challenges are presented daily; being stretched in thinking is constant; late nights reading and developing understanding is continuous but incredibly enlightening and applicable. You are pushed, you are pulled, but you go to bed at night being thankful and feeling that this is right where you belong.  Any opening in my planner can be filled with something new.  I’m having a great time volunteering at the Therapeutic Riding Center, working with a professor and a patient, playing basketball intramurals (undefeated so far!…1:1), and  continuously developing relationships with my classmates.

We have so much knowledge to gain in this field over the next three years. Sometimes it seems overwhelming but when you take it day by day and remind yourself to be thankful for the opportunity to become a physical therapist, stress diminishes and the goodness of life abounds.

Meet Amanda (and the other bloggers)

Growing Community

We finally had a week to breathe! This last month has been absolutely packed with tests, quizzes, papers and presentations for the five classes that we have been balancing. Thankfully, this week was a real chance to catch up in classes, and in life. We finally had free time to spend time with each other before exams start next week.

We are winding down with our classes that we started prior to Christmas. Our only change has been the switch from electro to woundcare. This module (and the next two) are our chance to find unique specialties and focuses. It has been fun to watch people find their own niche as we have continued on.  Now that we have three clinicals under our belts, its easier to know our strengths, weaknesses, and interests and what we want the next step to be.

On that same line, we are also looking ahead at Selectives (April-May), which is our one opportunity as students to decide what we need more practice in, want to pursue further or want to experience for the first time. We have students planning trips to Belize and Kenya, preparing to look more into pediatrics, geriatrics, manual therapy, and to review orthopedics and neuro. Its very exciting to actually be taking that next step towards the careers that are not so far in the future.

The first-years and PA students are all here! We’re all adjusting to the limited parking and general space but it hasn’t been too difficult. Our community has grown exponentially and will only expand further when the second-years come back in just a few short weeks. Unfortunately we haven’t had much time to get to know each other yet but have some plans in the works (coffee, potluck). Looking forward to it all.

The Clinical Life

I am just over halfway through my clinical at Brunswick Novant Medical Center.  I thought my first year of classes went by in a whirlwind, but time has not slowed down (at all) since I’ve been at my clinical site! Now that I have been here for a month, I am beginning to feel more at home in my new setting.  A huge part of this is due to my amazing clinical instructor (CI) and the wonder physical therapy staff that I work with at the hospital.  I love working with my patients too and am really going to miss working with them when I have to leave at the end of the month.

In the short time I’ve been at the clinic, I feel more comfortable in my role as a student physical therapist, and I have more confidence in working with my patients.  I’ve also had the opportunity to attend the monthly staff meeting for the physical therapy staff.  At the physical therapy staff meeting this month, I will have the opportunity to do an in-service presentation.  Two weeks before I arrived at the clinic, the facility downsized from 4,000 sq. ft. space into less than 1,000 sq. ft. space.  I will be presenting on “Providing Quality Physical Therapy in Small Spaces with Limited Equipment.” I hope to present the pros and cons of having to downsize not only space, but also equipment.  I look forward to reporting how that goes in the next blog!

In regards to my clinical instructor, she is a wealth of knowledge and what I consider to be a “gem” in the field of PT.  After 36+ years as a physical therapist, she is still passionate about the profession and is active in representing the PT in the community.  Today we had the opportunity to participate in “Career Day” at the community college just a couple of miles from the hospital.  It was truly great experience!  The groups we presented to were made up of students that were enrolled in the early college program, so they were doing a combination of fast track high school and college combined!   These kids go to community college instead of high school and in four years complete their high school requirements while earning an Associate’s Degree.  I believe there were several students in attendance that were very interested in becoming physical therapists one day.

To get them actively engaged in our presentation, I opened both of the sessions by asking the students if any of them had gone to physical therapy.  I was surprised at the number of students that had experienced it firsthand.  These students had gone to PT for a variety of reasons.  For example, one boy had been to PT for 3rd degree burns on his foot, one girl had a condition that caused demylenation of her nerve sheath, and there were several others with various injuries from MVAs and sports related injuries.  They were the ones that were most interested in pursuing a career in PT because they experienced how physical therapy had changed their lives.

I feel that I must share an aspect of the profession that, I have I admit, I am not a fan of… documentation!  When we were told in school that we going to be responsible for a lot of paperwork in our careers as physical therapists, it was an understatement!  While I am thankful that I am becoming more efficient in documenting such things as Medicaid applications, plans of care, and daily therapy logs, it still takes up a larger portion of my workday than I’d like.  It is not unusual for me to stay late several nights a week to complete all the documentation that insurance companies, referring physicians, and the hospital require!  Physical therapy is my second career, so I am very aware that every career has some challenging aspects.  With that said, I’ll take documentation over some of those other challenges any day!