Monthly Archives: April 2013

Wrapping Up

It;s almost here. In the next month, we will be let loose from classes to pursue our choice for selectives, followed by our six-month internship. I cannot believe our time on this campus is coming to a close. After months (and years for that matter) of stressing about grades, the next test or project, and our busy schedules, we are let free to be put to the real test.

In three weeks, two of my classmates and I will be driving across country to Seattle where we will be undergoing an independent study on manual therapy. We will be reviewing our information from the orthopedic module from the first year, practicing our techniques on each other, and learning new techniques from a mentor. We are all looking forward to a review before getting hit hard in the six month clinical. We will head back to NC for a week of final classes, presentations, and the practice board exam before splitting ways again for six more months apart.

Other classmates will be heading to Kenya and Belize to work in clinics and hospitals, some will stay on campus to review ortho and neuro and see patients, while others will be further pursuing their interests in pediatrics and independent research.

For now, we are finishing up classes in geriatrics, pediatrics, and administration/management, learning about both ends of the spectrum of life and how to lead a clinic. The ends are being tied up. Next time you hear from me, I’ll be in Seattle! Enjoy the beginnings of spring until then.

We had a wonderful opportunity the other week to share the academic lives of PT students with PA students. With many planners and helpers, students from both programs showed up to meet each other, to tour each others sections of the Francis Center, and to gain a better understanding and appreciation of our peers in the building. It was a great step forward and we are looking forward to this becoming an annual tradition.
Also, the Walk to Defeat ALS is coming up on April 20th in Greensboro! If you would like to join to walk or donate, please go to the website below. Thank you for your support!

http://webnc.alsa.org/site/TR/Walks/NorthCarolina?team_id=233641&pg=team&fr_id=8880
Additionally, there is a team from Elon DPT (Gears and Cheers) that will be riding in the MS Bike Race on May 4th in Gibsonville. If biking is more your cup of tea, please consider signing up. You can also support the team through donation on the website.

http://main.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR/Bike/NCCBikeEvents?team_id=328356&pg=team&fr_id=21437

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Our problem-free philosophy

I think I was told a lie as a child. When Timon and Pumbaa from the Lion King told me that there were no worries for the rest of my days, I believed them. And they were wrong. When the first set of midterms approached mid-March, I was a tad worried. We had been working hard throughout the weeks learning new material, refreshing material we touched on in undergrad, and processing how the information will be clinically applicable. We all desired to do well and prove to ourselves that we could handle this doctorate program. I’m happy to report we all survived. Bob Marley lives on! “Don’t worry… be happy.”  And happy we are.

This past month, we’ve had glimpses into what our profession will look like outside the Francis Center. Having learned how to conduct a patient interview, we entered a local skilled nursing facility prepared but slightly nervous. We entered ready to humbly learn about a patient’s medical history, life as they know it and their physical therapy experiences. All and all this was a blast. Not to belittle any time spent in class or hasten to speak a negative word about my drawings of stick figures demonstrating wheelchair transfers…I found this experience outside the classroom working with an actual patient to be extremely enlightening and rejuvenating. We also witnessed a patient interview through a live feed from one of our second-year DPT students on her clinical rotation. It brought excitement to observe what is coming down the road in January 2014. Even hearing about patient/clinical experiences I found helpful. This month the second-year DPT students returned to the Francis Center making it a fun and lively place full of new faces. Many stories are being shared about clinical experiences and what we first-years should expect in the months ahead. Each story instilled excitement and a dose of anticipation of the unknown.

But the time until we start our first clinical rotation is a ways away; so until then, we keep on trucking through the wonders of anatomy, physiology, and learning about physical therapy modalities and patient care skills. It is quite amazing how much material we have covered and how much more is yet to learn. Overwhelming? At times. But more so incredible. We are deep into our human donor dissections and becoming more and more aware of anatomical differences between the donors. I truly look forward to each lab day. There tends to be a bit of an attachment to the human donor as well.  I know for myself personally…being kind of sensitive…I just may cry come the day we say goodbye. After pouring hours into the dissection process you become extremely grateful for the entire learning process. It is one of a kind.  On a different note, time spent learning about patient skills and PT modalities such as hot pack application/cryotherapy/massage is starting to fill our PT toolbox. The labs for these courses provide active learning and hands on application. Who doesn’t like to practice being the patient for hot pack application or massage?! Like I’ve said before, this is where I’m supposed to be : )

I’m finding that I could never get through DPT all alone. I definitely rely on my classmates through studying, reminders of due dates and for overall encouragement.  It has been great having class representatives established to keep the weeks running smooth; I’ve seen amazing leadership, which makes me quite proud to be a “2015’er.”  And like my Grandma used to say to my Dad, who went through a physical therapy program up in Michigan, “all work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy.”  Well, Amanda definitely doesn’t want to be dull for the next three years so I rely on classmates for this also. In the past month our class has done well at dominating intramural games and hope to continue to do so in the sports ahead. We have visited the local brewery for a tour, headed out to Winston- Salem for the Color Run, participated in March Madness brackets, gone trail running, have had a few bonfires, and of course finding ways to razz one another.  It’s all about finding that balance between studying and living…and finding, so they say…Hakuna Matata.

 

Finding balance

If you were to ask my husband about how well I pay attention to detail, he would tell you that I am terrible when it comes to recalling specifics!  I usually get the general gist, but don’t recall things like  exact dates, restaurants, or names of people in the Bible.  I’m more likely to reference such things by saying “sometime in the winter of my senior year,” the “Italian restaurant with the landscaped roof,” or “the guy who built the ark.”

Okay, so those last two are a little exaggerated; I actually can remember Carrabba’s and Noah!  Anyway, for the first time in my life I am focusing on the details; not details in my personal life, but details in neuroscience. I’m discovering in this situation, however, that I need to see more of the general picture. After not doing as well as I would have liked on my last quiz, I talked to my professor about my approach to studying this subject.

Sidenote – I’d just like to mention again how fabulous the professors at Elon are: my professor took time to sit down with me his last half hour on campus before heading out of town for vacation (which actually turned into more like an hour or more), so that we could make sure I was taking the right approach to studying! Just another example as to what makes Elon’s DPT so outstanding.

Let’s get back to studying the details of neuroscience. While they are important, I have found that they are much like pieces of a puzzle. Each piece is important; that’s because you’ll notice right away if a piece is missing when the puzzle is complete. However, even with a missing piece, you will still be able see the general picture that the puzzle makes. On the other hand, you may look at each piece of the puzzle, becoming intimately familiar with each one. Without making connections (and placing the pieces together), you may never know what picture these pieces make! This is the same in neuroscience. So, while I still plan on paying attention to the details, I will also go back to my old habit of getting the general idea, seeing the big picture, and not getting too caught up in details!

I used to think the more, the better… more exercise, more money, and recently more details!  But I am learning that this is often times not true. More exercise brought stress fractures to a friend of mine who has been suffering with the consequences for months, when my husband and I were making more money it only brought on more responsibility and more stress, and more details has only caused me to lose site of the big picture.  Too much of anything, even good things, can result in less than favorable outcomes.  Much like life, this module is reinforcing the fact that balance is necessary.