Monthly Archives: January 2014

What a Difference One Year Makes

I woke to the New Year of 2014 a little differently than 2013. Instead of waking and wondering how the first day of the Elon DPT program would go, who my classmates would be, and what the landscape of North Carolina would be like, I woke wondering how my first day of working in the clinic would go, who my first patient to evaluate would be, and what the mountains of South Carolina would be like.  It’s a different world come the second year of DPT.  It brings new challenges to tackle and new stressors; but in the end it is just another step to becoming a physical therapist. The second year starts with 2-months working and learning at an outpatient clinic. Personally I am stationed down in South Carolina near the Sassafras Mountains along with three other classmates. We found a mountain cabin to rent and are counting our blessings in having each other to bounce ideas and questions about physical therapy off of. Of course we are also taking advantage of the beautiful geographic location that surrounds us.   Overall our class has exploded over the nation and we are spreading our cooped up enthusiasm and passion for life and physical therapy everywhere.

The day in the life of a physical therapy student at the clinic changes by the hour. We are assigned a clinical instructor at the clinic who is to guide and share their gems of knowledge to us. They are to stretch us mentally; at times it feels as if you are being fed to the wolves, but by the end of the day character is built and the spectrum of PT knowledge is that much bigger and broader. Each week a little more independence at the clinic is given and by the end of the two months we should be able to handle a good portion of patients on our own. Currently we are three weeks into this clinical rotation.  I am starting to feel more comfortable and confident with my evaluation and treatment skills.  I’m building a good foundation of what to do for simple orthopedic cases and am developing more of a tolerance to handling complicated ones.  The 8-hour state of shock and panic has faded into a hint of “deer in the headlights” look when presented with a case that I initially am unaware of how to treat.  It is at this point I fall back to what we were taught last year and manage to make it through. I have confidence in knowing that I have a good knowledge base from Elon and have a clinical instructor with years of experience to confirm my thinking process. I’m excited to see what another five weeks of working in the clinic will bring.

Overall I’ve heard good reports of our class’ experience with their clinics. Some have been absolutely loving it and some have had to turn lemons into lemonade.  I look forward to reconvening in March to discuss the knowledge gained, the challenges, and the fun of living in the “real world” for a few months.  It sure does feel good to escape the life of 8-hr flat butt, thoracic kyphosis, and forward head for a bit. As for myself out in the Sassafras Mountains with my other three classmates, we are having a grand time hiking, meeting the locals, finding deer in our driveway, and enjoying the perks of our mountain cabin which just may include a hot tub.  We have been truly blessed. We can only hope that the patients we come into contact at the clinic are being blessed as well. Through our old and new knowledge, our motivation to learn, our willingness to listen, and our desire for them to get back to the life they want to live, I hope to both gain and give more and more throughout the next month at the clinic.


Getting a Jump on New Year’s Resolutions

I want to start off by wishing everyone a Happy New Year and by welcoming the incoming DPT class of 2016 and PA class of 2015! In just two short days, the 2nd year students will embark on their first clinical rotation, while the 3rd year students will return to the Francis Center as the minority amidst new faces comprised of 1st year PT students and 1st year PA students.

The New Year is certainly a time for new beginnings, and if you’re like the 45 percent of Americans who usually make New Year’s resolutions, then you’re not alone! As a matter of fact, many of us may accomplish a few of the top 10 New Year’s Resolutions of 2014 (or are already doing them,) by simply being students at Elon! For example, the #2 New Year’s resolution for 2014, is to Get Organized. If we aren’t already organized, the second half of this module is sure to motivate us to become more organized as we continue to balance the many classes we are currently enrolled in! Resolution #5 will certainly be accomplished by all PT students at Elon, as occurs almost daily in our lives. Can you guess what it is? If you guessed, Learn Something Exciting, as the 5th New Year’s resolution of 2014, then you’re correct! I have a feeling this resolution will be accomplished our first day back to class! The 8th Resolution in the Top 10 list is another that we do regularly; this is one that we often do and may not realize we’re doing it! We Help Others in Their Dreamsas we work together in groups, support one another in and out of the classroom, and build friendships that last long beyond our days as PT students.

While the three resolutions listed above may not have been one of your New Year’s resolutions this year, I do have good news for the majority of my classmates (unfortunately, this does not include me)! Statistics show that 39 percent of people in their twenties are successful in keeping their resolutions each year compared to only 14 percent of people over age 50.  Also, as physical therapy students we are taught to make such things as our documentation and our patient’s goals to be detailed and specific. As PT students, this is yet another advantage for us, because: “People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.”

I’d say, that as PT students and future PTs, we have a lot going for us. We’ve been working hard and have come a long way since that first day, two years ago, when we began our adventure as the class of 2014. I have faith that each one of us, through hard work and perseverance, will achieve our resolutions and reach our goals this year!


Each Other

I have been unsure of how to start this blog for an entire month, but I decided to finally bite the bullet and write my final entry.

Since my last post, I returned to Elon for our final week of classes.  Since the DPT program was sponsoring a continuing education course, our class was able to attend the course for free. We had a very dynamic speaker from whom we learned interesting and clinically relevant information.  It was odd to sit among practicing therapists and realize that we were almost their peers and no longer their students (though honestly, we will hopefully always be students as we seek continued learning).

After two days of the continuing education course, we had a licensure review course held by Elon.  It was two very full days of preparation and practice for the boards exam, which the majority of our class will be taking at the end of January.  It was incredibly helpful and was fun to return to the classroom with our fellow students/family for a final hoorah. On Friday, we had an exit interview/discussion regarding our time at Elon, followed by presentations from students that had gone abroad for various experiences through GLO (Global Learning Opportunities).  My class had students presenting on Belize, Italy, Kenya, and Romania and our experiences during our times there.  It provided me a chance as a presenter to reflect on my journey both as a traveler and a student, and it was invigorating to share with those that had supported us in those travels, as well as future students of GLO.

Leaving the building on Friday was surreal, but even more surreal was graduation on Sunday. The week and weekend were filled with fun, laughter and sharing with friends, classmates and professors.  It was filled with the bringing together of families and friends.  It was a time of reflection, pride, joy, tears, goodbyes, and gratefulness….gratefulness to our friends and families for their encouragement and love, gratefulness to the Elon community and our professors for their constant support and willingness to challenge us, and most of all, gratefulness for each other. We were family, through thick and thin, laughter and tears, frustration and joy.  We had each other’s backs each and every day of the journey that took us through three very full years of school.  We are now graduates of Elon, but we will always remain the family of the Elon DPT Class of 2013.

Thank you for reading, and for supporting from near or far. And if you are a future student, I am so excited for you and the journey that you will undoubtedly undergo.