Category Archives: Brittany

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.

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The Finish Line is in Sight

2 weeks…10 work days. How is it possible that this is all that is left to the final chapter of our PT school journey? After 22 weeks on the job of our final internship, we have a mere 2 weeks left to soak up the knowledge that our CI’s have to offer, to say goodbye to patients who have become part of our PT lives, and to find the confidence to take the next steps towards our first jobs as actual PT’s.

We will have 2 weeks off to recuperate and spend time with family and friends for Thanksgiving, in between clinical and our last week back on campus. The first week of December, we will reconvene (who knew I could be so excited to return to classes) for our final week. It will be filled with learning at a continuing education course, licensure board review with our classmates, and our exit interviews, amongst the time we get to spend with each other catching up and finalizing this chapter of our lives together.

It is absolutely unbelievable to be at this stage of the game. I am humbled and grateful to be where I am today. I wish I could better articulate what it feels like to be at this point, but instead, I will just enjoy these last few weeks. I will do everything I can to soak up as much learning and time with friends and teachers as possible. I owe it to the past 3 years.

The Journey from Student to Clinician

We have seven weeks left of our final six-month internship. Wow. We have less than a typical clinical rotation left to go on this major piece of the PT school journey. Graduation is a mere two months away after almost three years of school (plus the many years spent prior to PT school). Graduation means the end of this life chapter; it means closing a few doors. While some doors close, many others are opening.

My classmates and I are faced with some big life decisions: Where do we want to work? In what setting, what part of the country, and for how long do we want to start our first jobs in the career that we have been fighting for, for so long? Options! Responsibility! Opportunities! Adventure!

Time in the clinic is becoming second-nature as we adopt our own schedules of patients. There is always more to learn and to practice but those early steps of getting to know patients and understanding our current setting have finally settled into place. These last few months and weeks are being spent fine-tuning our skills, our clinical reasoning and our independence.

I am in the midst of a lot of writing outside of my time in the clinic including: working on a case study, writing multiple reflections and finalizing my resume. The time spent at the computer allows me to step back and look at all that I have learned on this clinical, as well as my time at Elon. I am not the student I once was, but am rather on the verge of being a clinician.

One foot in the water; one foot on land

We are officially halfway through our final internship. The gravity of which is slowly sinking in, especially as we are starting to deal with the details of graduation. Where did the last three years go? I truly can’t believe how quickly it has all gone. I still remember getting ready for PT school like it was yesterday, and arriving on campus to a whole new world and group of people that would become “my people” for this significant chapter of my life. I would not be where I am without them.  (As you can probably sense, three months away from them is making me miss them more than ever!)

As this clinical has progressed, so has responsibility. We are in the midst of taking on a full caseload of patients as well as keeping up with paperwork for school. Sometimes I almost forget that I’m still a student until I’m reminded when I leave the clinic to go to a coffeeshop to do an assignment for school. I realized that during this final internship especially, I have one foot in the water and one foot on land. I’m almost ready to swim in this great ocean of a career (but not quite yet).

Yesterday, I finally spent some time looking at job openings throughout the U.S. I had to take time to reflect on what my strengths and weaknesses in PT are, as well as sort through what setting brings me the most joy and passion. When starting PT school, I was sure of the path I would take. Now, I have endless possibilities ahead of me, I’m more unsure of what my future holds than ever, and yet I feel at peace because I know I have a support system at Elon that will help me whenever I need it. I feel prepared to enter whichever setting I choose and I’m excited by the options. Whatever the future holds, I know how I got to where I am.

iCan

For our 6 month internship, we have additional requirements to fulfill. One of them is regarding “consultation” – meaning that we are to use our PT background and knowledge to serve and teach an un/underinsured or otherwise disadvantaged population. I had the extreme privilege of volunteering at a camp through the iCan Shine program. There was a local iCan Bike camp in my area this past week where I was able to serve and learn at the same time.

The program has five, 75 minute sessions during which children with special needs learn how to ride a bike. Each camper has 1-3 volunteer spotters to direct, refocus, and encourage them. I had the opportunity to integrate ergonomics, posture, and motor planning from a PT perspective.

The camp is incredible. The directors, volunteers and campers all put in so much hard work, which definitely paid off. For the first two days, children had difficulty getting onto their bikes without assistance and had a hard time balancing on their specialized safety bikes. Many parents were skeptical their children would make it onto a 2-wheeled bike by the end of the week.

Then, on the final days, I watched kids walk their own personal bike to the start line, kick their kickstand up without help, and ride independently for an hour or more. A parent told me (with tears in her eyes), “I can’t believe she’s riding alone! We’ve been trying to teach her for 3 years and have had no success!”

The kids said everything from, “I’m doing it!”, “I’m a speed racer!”, and “Just call me bike rider!” While it may have fulfilled a school requirement, it fulfilled so much more – I had the chance to meet some incredible kids and their families, as well volunteers who consistently give so much effort and time into a program they believe in. I learned many new techniques on motivation and teaching, and I practiced PT in a setting that was filled with joy and excitement. I got to enable kids with a means of exercise, fun, and transportation, while running myself ragged trying to keep up with them. It was a perfect week. Next week I will return to my clinical with a refreshed perspective to teach and learn.

Chapter 2 of the Final Leg

I’m more than one month into my final internship and I am a mix of emotions. It feels like it has been a mini version of my last 2.5 years of school. In some ways, I can’t believe how quickly the internship has gone by and how much I’ve already grown in such a short period. On the flip side, I feel like I was just at Elon in my familiar life and study habits. I find more and more that life is full of constant transition and adaptation.

My clinic here in WA has been incredible. The people I work with are all very talented but have unique theories and practices. It’s been fun to observe such successful therapists treating in totally different ways. My CI has been trained in a variety of schools of thoughts and has recently been practicing within the Integrated Systems Model, which was completely foreign to me before I started here. I have had to quickly learn the new theory and have loved the challenge, but even more than that, I’ve loved seeing how well it works on complicated patients. I’m being stretched in every way and have enjoyed helping patients once again.

I sorely miss Elon and the people there but I’m finding my way here as well. It has been awesome to be back home for summer for an extended period, getting back into hiking and long weekends away. I’m transitioning (big surprise) into another chapter of life…the working world and all it has to offer.

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.