everyone! For those of you who may be hoping to get a broad picture of life in PT school, I’ve decided to take this blog post to explain your final year in Elon’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program.
The third and final year is an exciting time that puts the icing on the cake of your foundational studies. By this time, you have had plenty of clinical experience to solidify your knowledge of the fundamentals of physical therapy. When we all reconvene after our 2nd year clinicals, we dive into supplementary topics that deal with special populations such as wound care, amputees, geriatrics and pediatrics. Our professors work extremely hard to find specific opportunities for us to work directly with clients from the community to practice our hands on skills. We also take this time to share our stories with each other and expand our knowledge base to improve our investigative skills. We often discuss what takes a physical therapist from novice to expert, and it involves the culmination of experiences to sharpen your skills. The more we share with each other, the better we ultimately become. We learn from each others mistakes and help build a framework for future patient care.
After we finish our required coursework, we enter a module (semester) called “selectives”. When I was applying to PT school, this was something I found unique about Elon’s program. For 6 weeks, you have the opportunity to select one course of special interest. These options include orthopedics, neurological populations, pediatrics, research, independent study and global learning opportunities. While our program ensures that we graduate as “generalists” with the ability to work in any setting, it allows students to pursue their specific interests. As much as I love my two baby nieces, I know I’m not exactly cut out for pediatric physical therapy. Even though that isn’t my career path, some of my classmates are absolutely incredible with kids and I’m glad they have the chance to investigate further. As for me, I’ll be headed to Brussels, Belgium for my 2nd GLO experience! I have always been passionate about interacting and learning from other cultures, so I am thrilled to spend 6 weeks learning from PTs and Professors in Europe.
When we finish our selectives module, that completes our didactic (classroom) education at Elon. We then head out for our final 6 months of clinical to really fine tune our hands on skills. While this is an exciting time, my classmates and I will be scattered around the United States. We will not reunite until our final week of boards preparation before graduation, and I’m sure I will miss the incredible friends that I have made.
Looking back, I thought that graduate school would last forever. Three months into 2019, it has flown by faster than I could imagine. I’m excited to start my career and see where the wind takes me! No matter where I go, I will always have Elon to thank.