Independent Study on Geriatric PT

Observations, on-line courses, on-line course exams, research, reflections, resumé writing, mock interviews, creating brochures… the list goes on. These items comprise the components of this module as I forge ahead through my independent study on Geriatric Care in Physical Therapy.

There are three of us studying geriatric physical therapy during this module known to 3rd year physical therapy students as Selectives. As mentioned in previous blogs, this is the time in our schooling in which we select what we want to pursue studying, with options ranging from orthopedics and neuro which are held on site at the Francis Center, to learning about PT in foreign countries.  Within this independent study there are three of us that have decided to remain local, yet venture off to create our own study in geriatrics.  This trio we’ve created allows us to participate in some things together and also do several things independently and different from one another. For example, while we all are participating in geriatric physical therapy observations, we sometimes participate in observations together at the same clinic and with the same PT, while at other times, we may be at the same location, but shadowing different  PTs; still other times we may observe on completely different days and not be together at all.

The three of us, that are currently studying geriatrics in depth,  are also taking some of the same on-line courses, but also taking some on-line courses more specific to our personal interests. Much in the same way that we are taking these courses, our research is on the general topic of geriatric studies, yet we may be individually researching vastly different aspects of physical therapy in the geriatric population.  I personally have been exploring Parkinson’s Disease to gain understanding of this disease and how PT fits into rehabilitation with such patients, while one of the another two classmates has focused her research on the physical therapy outcome measures for individuals over age 65.

Regardless of whether together or separate on this journey through our independent study, it has been a great learning experience and I am thankful it’s only half over. In fact, I wish it were even longer, as there is so much more I want to learn and explore about geriatric care. Fortunately, we can all continue to be life long learners beyond this Selective Module; in fact, we should remain life long learners throughout our entire careers as physical therapists so that we can grow in our knowledge and pass that knowledge onto our patients by educating them and providing them with the best evidenced based care possible!


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