In the course of the three year DPT program I will spend 34 weeks in clinical settings, taking the knowledge that has been stuffed into my head and put it to action. One rotation will be in an acute care (inpatient) setting, one in a neuro setting and a third in an orthopaedic sestting; that's the one I'm in now. We get to choose our 4th as an elective and I am planning on doing a more sports specific ortho rotation.
I thought I'd describe a little bit about the experience as I go. I just finished my second day and before some of my early thoughts ellude me, wanted to capture them on paper.
The clinic I'm working in has two locations in Pagosa Springs. There are two other small PT offices in the town as well which is actually kind of surprising given it's 2009 census of just under 2000 population. I switch between each clinic every day and will do so for the entirety of my rotation. Currently I'm working with one therapist for the first two weeks before switching over to work with another for the remainder.
I've seen a fair number of patients already. Most have been post-op rotator cuff rehab or TKA's. There've been a few interesting anomalies but so far pretty straightforward. It's been a weird transition from the classroom to the the clinic. I knew it probably would be but it's hard to really know how strange it's going to be until you are in it.
For me, the most difficult thing has been bridging the gap between what we've learned and been taught and what we are being instructed to do in clinic. Already there have been several situations where things don't line up and I find myself in immediate inner conflict. I tend to get locked into a way of doing things and have a hard time adjusting, especially when it is seemingly so radically different from what I've learned.
I'm sure this will smooth out over the days and weeks ahead and I'm confident that I'll adjust but if there's one thing I need to make sure and do, it's keeping an open mind and a willing spirit to soak up as much as I can. I would imagine that my classmates are going through some of the same emotions as well.
So far so good - more to come...