Nikole Nelson, 2nd clinical internship student from the University of Central Florida, has hit her halfway mark in my clinic. I've taken on many DPT students before, but there's been quite a gap since I have personally taken one myself. It's a whole new ball of wax to have one in your clinic versus taking on the responsibility of guiding them through as their mentor.
Having a student intern is very different than hiring a new employee; you don't get to interview them or select the best one. You are handed a student that you don't know and expected to take the reins. When I decide on a new hire for a physical therapist, the biggest thing I take into account is their personality and social skills. You can train skills, but you can't train common sense and personality. With a student, you take what you get. It is your responsibility to help mold them into a well-rounded therapist.
Reaching the halfway mark has really made me proud. This clinical rotation had a rough start and as a CI made me really dig deep into my "bag of tricks" to try and help foster the growth and confidence in my new found clinic buddy. What turned out to be a rocky start, took a turn at week 3 for the better. Nikole started to be more aware of her patient's personalities and was able to adapt to them and build a much more solid rapport with them. I began to trust her; her patients began to trust her. Here we are at week 7 and patients are asking specifically to be with her; I absolutely love that! 5 more weeks to go and I look forward to see how much further she can take herself!
- Katie Hohman, PT, DPT, CLT
It’s weird to think now that I’m more than halfway done on my clinical internship. Time certainly flies by. So, since I’ve a variety of mixed thoughts on this, I’m just going to break things down a bit…
The past: Looking back now, I’ve come a long way during the past 6 weeks. For one thing, my evaluations seem to flow gradually smoother. When I’m examining patients (more so with diagnoses I am consistently seeing) I feel much more confident with what I am doing, and I am able to appear that way. I have a better idea of questions to ask and tests and measures to perform. I’m spending less time trying to think about what the next step in my assessment is, or for instance, what position should I have my patient in next. As a result, I have become much more natural when I am having a conversation with a patient and when explaining certain conditions. I remember during my first week being a bit nervous about performing evaluations independently. Now, I’ve come across certain conditions where I can perform independent evaluations. Treatment sessions have gone much better as well. Not only can I keep things going with patients, but I have also gotten progressively more efficient with treating, documenting, and conversing with patients.
The future: So, now, I’ve come to realize that I’m becoming steps closer to actually being a physical therapist. I’ve heard in the past that there is always room for improvement as a clinician, and that no one is perfect. That being said, despite my improvement, it of course makes me a little nervous the thought of having a license. In a year from now, I will be the main person who treats patients. None of the supervision or feedback I have available now will be around. It makes me realize just how important it is that I make the most of my last remaining weeks. I know what my strengths and weaknesses are, and I need to hone in on my strengths and continue to progress on my weaknesses. I also need to learn as much as I can so that I’m able to do this on my own and be the best clinician that I can be.