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Diary of a Student | Week 1

 First week of my 2nd clinical internship is in the books! Trust me, going from semesters in class reading textbooks and preparing exams to working hands on with patients is pretty much taking a 180 in the PT learning experience. In class, we learn all of the skills needed to examine, document, and treat a patient, but it’s a whole other experience when you’re actually working with someone with a patient who can’t turn their neck side to side or has a history falls. To give you an idea, here’s an example of what a typical practical exam looks like.  Here’s also a little bit about my program at UCF.

Like I said, this is my 2nd clinical in an outpatient setting. My 1st clinical was in an outpatient setting within a hospital. It was there that I got the first taste of what life would be like as future PT. While working there, I familiarized myself with plenty of rotator cuff and impingement (FYI: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00032)  examinations, along with treating disc herniations and total knee surgeries. The skills and information I learned at my last clinical definitely helped me out with interning at Hohman so far. As a student, we are often asked to come up with exercise ideas and ways to modify those exercises. John Doe has pain with an abdominal bracing exercise, what could he do instead? This balance exercise for Jane Doe is pretty easy for her, how can we make it more challenging? That being said, I was expecting to modify exercises on the fly when arriving at Hohman.

I’d be lying if I said you’re a PT expert once you reach your 2nd clinical. One challenge students like myself face is trying to finish an exam within a certain amount of time. That means getting answers to certain questions, taking measurements, explaining results to patients, and giving them a home exercise program, while also documenting the info you got. I’ve even used cold laser therapy treatment on patients during their exams. Fortunately, everyone at the clinic has been super helpful and happy to welcome me on board. I’ve already seen patients with issues in different body parts (neck, hip, back, general weakness, you name it), which means different functional issues (“I can’t look up to reach for objects”, “It hurts when I run”, “I fell down the stairs a few months ago”). Also, Hohman Rehab is the first clinic I’ve been to that also has massage therapists. Not a bad idea, right? A lot of the patients here really like coming for PT, and then getting a massage afterwards. Check this out. Every day has been a new challenge and a new learning opportunity. I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone and learn more these next 12 weeks!

-- Nikole Nelson, Student PT at UCF

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