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.