Deer in Headlights?

My final full time clinical started last week and it is so far going very well. It was really tough heading from graduation weekend straight in to full time (unpaid) work, so it took a few days to get in to the groove of things. In some ways I think I am still getting used to how they do things there, but overall I felt much more comfortable by the end of the week.

I have two clinical instructors (CIs). This is totally different than what I am used to and really tough in some aspects. One works part-time, so whenever she isn’t there, I am with a different PT. They both are so incredibly knowledgeable and have loads of valuable experience that I know I will learn so much from. One of them in certified in Vestibular Rehab, so she sees a lot of concussion, vertigo, and other vestibular patients. This is something I haven’t seen a lot of, so it’s exciting being able to learn more about it. My other CI worked in the inpatient end of things for a few years before coming to the outpatient side, so it’s fun to talk to her about both experiences and get her feedback on things.

The patient population is awesome! I don’t know what I was expecting because I knew it was mainly Neuro based, but I just got down right giddy seeing the first few patients on the first day. Many of the patients are individuals with chronic neurological disorders coming in to work on walking, strength, or other difficulties that have risen as they age. We’ve seen patients with Parkinson’s, stroke, post-concussion syndrome, cerebral palsy, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, quadriparesis, and multiple sclerosis. It’s an incredible patient population to work with and is so rewarding.

My goal for the second week is just to become more comfortable with the patients. With a patient with an orthopedic injury, I feel okay walking in and doing what I know. With this population, I need to be on my toes the entire time I am with them, thinking on my feet and figuring out what to do if they perform really well with one task or it’s too hard. It’s challenging but I love it.

So while I felt sort of like a deer in headlights walking in to clinic on Monday, I know that with a little time I will ease in to my comfort zone and just do my thing. I’m so excited about this opportunity to be at this clinic with 2 awesome mentors and I’m ready to see what the rest of the summer brings.

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