One of Three

I guess I never did pen an entry for the completion of my first ever PTA clinical rotation. We stared on 11/20, a Friday, the week before Thanksgiving. School also gave us a 2 week break during the Winter holidays, and we wrapped up on the Friday before MLK on 1/20. And what was originally s’posed to be just a 3 day weekend before getting back into school turned into a full week off (schedule changed on us like with 2 weeks notice). I think I already bitched about them moving this break, and essentially taking away our Spring Break. So again, right now, it’s..

4 wks: back to school/last class
6 wks: clinical rotation 2
6 wks: clinical rotation 3
4 wks: back to school/review session

There’re no breaks here except for Memorial day, which comes like a week before classes end (June 8, 2016). And apparently, “graduation” would be in November, bc the lame school does two a year, and throws any completed programs together for a graduation ceremony in the Spring and Fall. And we’re like, we don’t care about the other programs. Screw them. I don’t have too much of a problem with our department (though the PTA program director was the one who unilaterally screwed us on our Spring Break…), but we can’t be done with this POS school soon enough.

Also. License exams (sitting for the boards) happen like 4 times a year. There’s a July 6 exam date (o.o), but the school doesn’t finish up our program until June 8. Missing a deadline by like 2 wks (deadline of May 24 to send in a certificate of completion). You mean if we started 2 wks earlier, or if we cut out 2 wks of breaks somewhere (if it had been planned ahead of time)… Either way. Now we’re looking at Oct 6th as the exam date. We graduate June 8. So close to 4 months… of working and studying? Or just pure studying? For 4 months? Idk man. We’ll see when we get there.

Anyway. This was supposed to be about my first rotation experience as a PTA. Which was cool, as it was an outpatient joint, so people could walk in and get their treatment for their back/shoulder/knee/etc. I actually saw a lot of different cases here, ranging from general low back pain to a brand new knee/shoulder replacement to high-level high school athletes trying to get back into athletic shape. In a general sense though, there was a commonality of cookie-cutter activities we’d do with everyone (Come in, start with a massage, get a hot pack/electrical-stimulation session, then do a variety of exercises, and send you on your way, all within an hr). So at my laziest, it wasn’t too bad once I got the hang of it. And most of each part of the treatment had the patient set with a timer, so when that timer went off, whoever was available would help take care of the patient and move them to the next part of their treatment. It could get pretty crazy at times, with us taking in 6 patients every 30 minutes, with a max schedule of 102 patients a day if we were all booked. And starting with the holiday season of Thanksgiving and Christmas, it got pretty damn close to that because everyone wanted to their full week’s worth of treatment in during our shortened hours (3 days instead of 5).

Place had 2 PTs (at least 1 daily), 2 PTAs (at least 1 daily), and 5 aides (at least 3 daily), with a usual staff of 6 combined on a daily basis. Including the two office girls up front, this place actually had a decent number of staff for an outpatient clinic (I had a classmate at another place opened by this owner (a PT), and their place was like half the size of our back room. Lulz). And all of them signed a lil “goodbye/thanks” card for me as a going away present! That was nice. I think the best comment I got was “Remember, everything is your fault.” Bc everything is always the student’s fault. Haha. Good times.

Having a regular 8-5 schedule was nice, because I didn’t have to come home to finish a project/assignment/study for a test, y’know? I mean, I did look up some diagnoses and PT related items to prep me, if there were things I didn’t get during the day, but otherwise, after the initial holiday rush, things were pretty chill there. Especially during the new year/rainy days, as people were getting their insurance ready/wanted to avoid going into the rain. There was a lot of thumb twiddling at the end, which was thoroughly enjoyed compared to the madness I had at the beginning.

So. S’posedly, at my next rotation, we’re getting the opposite of what we had in our first one. That means the next group of patients I should get should either be in a hospital or nursing home setting, meaning they’re not necessarily as high-level as patients I had before, and that things could be more physically taxing on me depending if they need helping getting out of bed/walking. We shall see.

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