Based on the title, you may be thinking to yourself, “Hey, isn’t continuing education something that I do when I’m done with PT school? I’m already up to my eyeballs in anatomy, special tests, and spinal tracts!!” Don’t fret friends, I’m right there with you! The continuing education I’ve been pumped about recently is not anything to stress about; in fact I want to share some of my favorite resources that actually help keep the ole’ PT school stress levels down and the excitement about our awesome profession up! So here’s a list of some of these said resources that I particularly love….
- The PT Pintcast (and other PT podcasts) – I don’t know about y’all, but I am a HUGE fan of podcasts. And surprise, I’m also a huge fan of PT! So it shouldn’t be a shock to anyone that this awesome PT podcast is a favorite of mine. The host of the show is actually a PT student, and he brings on some big names in various fields of our profession (and related professions) to talk about all kinds of great PT related topics. Hearing from these guests of the show always makes me pumped about my career path and the many exciting skills that I’ll get to learn along the way. Check it out here http://www.ptpintcast.com
- Conferences – I just got back from CSM 2016, where I had the amazing blessing/opportunity to present my research project as a platform presentation. As one of my professors predicted would be the case, the whole experience got me hooked, and I can’t wait to go to many many more conferences throughout my career. There are many awesome things about conferences including the chance to network with tons of other PT’s, learn about the many exciting developments in our field, and learn new skills and information that can help us in the treatment of our patients.
- PT Apps – while listening to the aforementioned PT Pintcast, I heard about an awesome app called iOrtho+, which is an app that has tons of great info and videos about special tests and joint mobilizations. Another great app is called QxMD Read, which is an app that finds literature to meet your specific practice interests. There are obviously many more that exist, and I’m sure we’ll only see more exciting ones in years to come.
- PT Literature – cue the grrrooooans!! While I know it may seem tough to read research literature on top of all the other work we have to do as PT students, the app that I mentioned above and other resources (like personalized Pubmed searches) are making it easier than ever to find specific literature that excites you! Also, reading literature is a great way to stay abreast of the latest and greatest discoveries that can help us treat our patients in the best way possible.
Hopefully this small list excites you as much as it does me, and I hope you can make great use of these resources!
Now that you’ve read the title and have Europe’s famous one-hit wonder stuck in your head, let’s take some time to celebrate that the class of 2016 has made it to our final year of PT school! As we’ve been welcoming in the newest class of first year students over the past month, I’ve found myself having quite a hard time believing that it’s been a full two years since we were in their shoes. We certainly have learned a ton over that time period and have moved a lot closer to being full-fledged PT’s!
Even though we’re much closer to our dream of being licensed PT’s, this current module (module IX) has reminded me many times that there is still much to be learned. From learning what different EKG signals mean to determining the best fit for a patient needing a prosthesis, we have continued to gain valuable knowledge that will help us as we move closer to becoming practicing and critically-thinking clinicians. Also, aside from the in-school learning, I’ve also been listening to a lot of PT podcasts and reading a lot of PT-related literature (more to come on this next month!). While sometimes it can seem a little overwhelming to think about how much there is left to learn outside of our three years of PT school, I find it more exciting than anything, because it means I get to experience the blessing of having a career that will challenge me in fresh and exciting ways for years to come.
Here’s to what I know will be a great last year!
On Thursday, all across America, families and loved ones came together to eat copious calories, watch football and hopefully spend some time reflecting on the things for which we can offer our thanks. My use of the word “thanks” there is 100 percent intentional because I’ve come to realize over the years that there is a difference between “giving thanks” and thankfulness. “Giving thanks” is something that I see as temporary and a behavior that we’re especially prone to do this time of year. While that is CERTAINLY not a bad thing, I’m working hard in my life to maintain the more permanent state of “giving thanks,” i.e. thankfulness. Thankfulness, I believe, is more of an attitude and a state of mind rather than a behavior, and I think it has profound implications for how we live our lives and for helping us live out our lives with joy.
Wow….ok now that I’m done waxing philosophical, I’d like to take this time to say that in my striving (yes, it takes work to maintain this attitude!) to maintain an attitude of thankfulness, I am reminded how much I love physical therapy and how grateful I am that I get to spend a lifetime making a positive difference in the lives of others. In addition, I’m grateful for the Department of Physical Therapy Education at Elon University and for the ways that our faculty pours into our lives and education. And last but not least, I’m grateful for the influence that my crazy awesome (seriously, they’re both crazy and awesome) classmates have had on my life over these two short years. So class of 2016, as we move toward our last year, let’s both give thanks and put on an attitude of thankfulness as we move closer towards the day where we can write DPT after our names and start doing what we love most!
Seems like just yesterday that we were nervously awaiting the start to our first clinical rotation. Fast forward to this first day of November 2015 and we’re now officially finished with three of our four clinicals. And that also means that we have all had the opportunity to experience and treat patients in a number of different kinds of clinical settings.
Honestly, as I think about returning to campus for more didactic material, I’m tempted to just say “Hey, who needs more class!? I mean, we’re basically PT’s now right??” Wrong. While I’m sure that I speak for everyone in saying that we have learned a TON of skills and gained a TON of knowledge during these three clinicals of 2015, we would be doing a disservice to our future patients if we think for a second that we’re above the information that we will continue to learn and absorb back at school. PT is a profession that demands the willingness to learn throughout one’s career, and while I will certainly miss the clinical life, I’m excited for this upcoming third year and the opportunities that it will bring with regards to learning how to more effectively treat my patients.
With all of that said, I hope as well that we will all take the time to reflect on all the amazing things that we’ve learned while on these two neuro clinicals. Personally, I know that I have the tendency to just bounce from one season of life to the next without taking the needed time to sit down and really think about the personal and professional lessons that I’ve learned. If I were to give in to that same tendency during this particular transition period, I would lose what are without a doubt some of the most important life and professional lessons that I have learned up to this point in my life.
So 2016, as we head back to school soon, let’s work hard to hold on to all that we’ve learned over the past 4 months while at the same time being thankful and excited for all the wonderful knowledge and skills that we have yet to learn!
Many times throughout my young and fresh PT career, I’ve heard those of us in this wonderful profession referred to as mobility experts. While I’ve certainly experienced and learned what this means during my time in the classroom and during my prior clinicals, it has been this current Inpatient Rehab clinical that has truly showed me quite fully what it means to be a mobility expert.
If you really take a moment to stop and think about it, human movement, especially gait, is an incredibly complex and beautiful thing. Since the majority of us are blessed with the ability to move around just fine, the complexity behind our movements is most likely not something that most people do actually take the time to think about. As for me, after three amazing weeks at my inpatient rehab clinical, I have taken A LOT of time to think about the complexity behind human movement because without this understanding, it makes it awfully hard to treat my patients. In fact, in addition to learning more about how an injured body moves, I’ve also had to learn potentially even more about how to most effectively move my own body. As an example, as I turned red with the exertion of trying to bring one of my patients up into quadruped the other day, my CI intervened and made it look so easy that my patient started laughing and asked me if I needed a drink of water. While the situation was certainly a good laugh for all of us, it just goes to show that the knowledge of how to utilize movement effectively is crucial in making sure that we deliver the best care possible to our patients. I have no doubt that all of my classmates are doing amazing things on this clinical as well, and here’s to all of us walking, or should I say gait training, the road towards becoming mobility experts!
We’ve almost reached the dog days of summer, and that means that the class of 2016 is already about halfway through our second clinical rotation! For me personally, it’s been a great start to this rotation so far, and I’ve already learned a great deal in these three short weeks. At the same time though, I’ve also been reminded time and time again that there is a MAJOR difference between being a classroom student and a clinical student. For us PT students, being a classroom student means a full day of any combination of lecture and labs as well as a healthy dose of Facebook checking….errr I mean furious note taking! Being a classroom student also generally means a lot of time spent parked in a chair with breaks interspersed where one might eat a snack or leisurely toss the pigskin. So what then, does it look like to be a clinical student?? Well, for starters, the pace is about 100x faster, and there’s obviously less pigskin tossing. Also, whereas in class we have time to write down notes and think on them later, clinical learning often involves having to remember a lot of competing and varied information that has to be applied sometimes immediately. Treatment information has to be recalled quickly for note writing, mental checklists have to be run through, and good grief should I be concerned if my patient’s prothrombin time is high and she has a stat CT ordered (the answer to that question, coincidentally, is yes)??
Now, upon reading that description of clinical learning, you may be thinking “Gosh Luke, that sure does sound pretty crazy!” Well, while it can indeed be crazy at times, it’s also AWESOME. Don’t get me wrong, classroom learning is great and I truly do love book knowledge, but we all came to PT school to be PT’s after all, and our clinicals are where we’re starting to get a real taste of our passion for PT. Also, while I’d certainly have days where I came home exhausted from class, exhaustion has taken on a whole new meaning in a clinical world filled with long days of speed-walking down hospital corridors and rapid-fire learning. However, with that exhaustion comes an incredible sense of knowing that we as mere PT students probably had a bigger impact on someone’s day than we could possibly imagine. Thankful for this opportunity that we all have right now, and keep up the good work class of 2016!
Posted in Luke
A few months back you may remember me bringing you some tips about how to prepare for the PT school application process. Well, as promised, I’m back this month to share some more tips! Only difference is that this time around, I want to provide some advice for those of you that may be preparing to start school in just a few short months. And for those of you that are getting ready to apply, come back and read these tips once you’re getting ready to start school!
- This first tip is something I’ve thought about often and I can’t stress it enough; stick to the study/work method that has gotten you this far, and don’t let the methods of others make you think you’re doing it wrong. Chances are, there will be someone that studies or works more than you do. When you experience this, you may find yourself thinking “Man they must know something about an assignment that I don’t!!” I urge you, don’t worry yourself by thinking these thoughts!! Everyone has different study habits and tactics and if you’ve made it to the point of getting accepted in to a very competitive graduate field, chances are your habits and tactics are just fine! Don’t doubt yourself!!
- Second tip – engage in physical activity as often as you can. Here’s the irony about PT school; you’re going to learn about a lot of physical impairments that can be brought on by the one thing you’ll do probably more than any other, aka siting in a chair. Therefore, getting up and moving around and engaging in sports or workouts will make your body and your mind a lot happier! Also, an added benefit of working out that I discovered is the fact that it helps you come up with exercises and activities that you can use with your patients!
- Get to know your faculty members. While the faculty members that you’ll be spending a lot of time with over the next few years are no doubt your teachers, they’ll very shortly be your PT colleagues. In addition, your professors will be one of your best resources in terms of job recommendations. And last but not least, as I’ve discovered, you may just find out that your professors are more than willing to do things like play basketball with you and your classmates on a Friday afternoon!
Well I hope you’ll find these tips useful, and I encourage you to also come up with some of your own strategies for making the most out your PT school experience. For those of you about to take the plunge in August, enjoy the start of what I’m sure will be a fantastic ride!