Monthly Archives: June 2013

Enjoying a Wild Ride

We are on the high-speed rail into the depths of physical therapy. Somehow between the beginning of May until now it seems each minute shortened, the number of days per week reduced, and the amount of material to memorize heightened. Not going to lie, I’m finding it tough. While anatomy and physiology are still in progress, we welcomed goniometry, human motor development, more practice at developing our professionalism and a taste of orthopedics into our lives. Although difficult and demanding, this is great material. I’m a big fan of orthopedics. Time will tell if that’s the direction I will take my skill upon graduating but if feelings don’t change, I think I’ll be just fine with that.

Throughout this past month, we were exposed to different aspects of physical therapy. One morning was spent with babies observing their motor behavior (the 6-week old my group had was adorable!). We also had experiences visiting a physical therapy session whether at the school, in the home, or at an outpatient clinic. I found this experience really fun. To be honest, this is just a fun profession. There are not many careers that you get to be one-on-one with someone listening, conversing, sharing your knowledge and benefiting their life directly. How cool is that. But we are not quite at the end yet…or for awhile.

In regards to the books, we finished midterms just last week and for the first time in a while I gave myself a full two days off from looking at any sort of DPT material. As classmates we go through highs and lows together and it is sure a treat when we can just kick back and enjoy being together relaxing by a pool in the hot NC sun, picnicking at Lake Mackintosh, exploring the ocean, or hitting the city life in downtown Raleigh. All in all life has been great. Stressful at times but there is always someone to snap you out of it and remind you of the purpose behind those long days.

Coming this week our placements for our first clinical will be established. The clinical sites are all throughout North Carolina and some sporadically throughout the nation. Most of them are places I’ve never been or even heard of. Being placed at a clinical site has proven to be a task in which trust is demanded. My strategy has been to just throw up my hands and realize that everything will be OK no matter where I end up. Past life experiences have proven so; why not just trust that this time around it will be too.  The first clinical isn’t until January 2014 so until then, I will be in the books trying to stretch out the minutes, slow down the days and just enjoy the ride.

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The Final Leg

The blog title “Road to Graduation” caught my attention today when I realized that our journey is winding down.  The road, full of surprises and unexpected turns has brought us to our final leg of the trip: internship. I remember thinking how far away it seemed and yet, I am somehow in the midst of it. What a trip!

My friends and I finished up our independent study and met back up with our class in North Carolina for a final few classes and our practice licensure exams before resting and recuperating for this final internship. I was able to spend time exploring, resting and enjoying time with classmates. It was a great week of reflection as I was back on the Elon campus but  was not responsible for class work, a very foreign concept as of late. I watched the 1st and 2nd years come and go with classes and reflected on just how lucky I’ve been to be part of this school. Two and a half years later, I have so much more knowledge of PT, of myself, of relationships, and of my dreams than I thought possible. This place has shaped another chapter of my life and I will forever owe that to my professors and classmates, which has made the experience unforgettable.

My final internship is at an orthopedic clinic near Seattle, WA. I have had one very full week of hitting the ground running. After three clinical rotations under my belt, the transition went quicker than previously but there is always time needed to understand a clinic, co-workers and PT styles. I have already been very challenged and have grown already in one week. I can only imagine what the next six months may hold.

The Rhythm of a New Season

The temperature is heating up, the undergraduates are gone and the summer is almost here! While the “lazy days of summer” had personal meaning for me in the past, it leaves me with a slightly different view now. I can’t say that I’m not, at least a little, envious of my co-workers from my days as a school teacher. As they are wrapping up the final days of teaching, in preparation for a relaxing summer (without a care in the world), I am fretting, a bit, over the fact that I have two and a half tough weeks ahead of me before I get to enjoy the hands on portion of PT school: clinical rotations.

Please make note, that I use the word “enjoy” loosely because as physical therapy students, our clinical rotations (aka: clinicals) are not exactly a picnic; we work long hours, still have school work and requirements to meet, and often work at least a few weekends (especially if we’re in an acute care setting). There are  parts of our clinicals that we do get to enjoy, like our patients, applying what we’ve been taught, and learning new things from our CI (clinical instructor) that we couldn’t possibly get out of a textbook.  Clinicals are experiences in which we finally begin to feel like PTs!

In the meantime, my classmates and I need to survive the next two and a half weeks!  This is the portion of the neuro module in which we get to cram as much information back into our heads as possible in preparation for cumulative final exams.  For me, if not for others as well, this is a daunting task.  Three, large, 3-ring binders sit in my home office; they’re filled with neuro information that has been accumulating since March.  While some of that information has been used fairly regularly and is somewhat easy to recall, there is plenty of other information that is buried under dust and cobwebs somewhere in the depths of my mind, and even more (I fear) that has escaped my mind all together!

That is one of the ironies of neuro science; as we move through the module we learn about neurons, the mind, how we process information, and even memory; and all the while we’re personally experiencing what we’re learning and often times, forgetting. We go through this cycle of filling our minds, emptying them on quizzes and exams, only to refill and often replace previous information with new information.

Throughout PT school I have felt like I am an athlete in a mental marathon; I train and I race only to turn around and train again for the next race!  Some races are harder than others, and I may not always come in first (it’s actually quite rare when I do). The great thing about it is that, thanks to supportive family and friends, and most importantly to a God that’s been faithful to me, I have  been able to cross the finish line of each of these mental races that I’ve run!