Jun 30, 2015
42
5
Status
Pre-Physical Therapy
Like any other health professional grad program, clinical internships are crucial to developing as a practitioner.

My question is...

Does anyone know of any PHYSICAL THERAPY PROGRAMS that let you PICK YOUR OWN CLINICALS?

I am 99.9% confident that I know what speciality I want to enter into as a physical therapist, so I would prefer to be able to pick my own clinicals.

I know U-Mass Lowell and Columbia University DPT programs are very lenient in letting their PT students pick their own clinicals
 

starrsgirl

7+ Year Member
Oct 5, 2010
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Physical Therapist
Many schools let students pick their own clinicals BUT most that I know still have certain requirements about practice area. In other words, you usually have to experience a wide range of practice areas. Make sure you find out more information from the schools. You may be required to do an inpatient, ortho, neuro or whatever. Also, many schools work from a clinical list....so yes, you can "pick" clinicals, but only ones that appear on the list for that time slot (a much smaller list than all the clinical affiliations a school might boast about).
 

Kuhdaytee

5+ Year Member
May 6, 2011
419
174
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Physical Therapy Student
This is how my program does clinicals: We eventually fill out a piece of paper requesting specific cities/states where we want clinicals, what specialty we're most interested in, and if we know of any specific places that we're interested, we can write those down too. We're not allowed to call places and ask if we can have a clinical there, as it overwhelms the practice and isn't the most professional way to go about it.

Your program's clinical director should be flexible with your wishes, but don't expect to be placed exactly where you want. There's a lot of factors that go into placements.
 
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callmecrazy

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 17, 2008
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Physical Therapist
1. Most if not all are going to require a variety if settings. For good reason, PT school trains you to be a generalist, not a specialist. You need broad experience. Also, no setting stands independently. There's skill and knowledge overlap everywhere.

2. It's not as simple as just choosing a site. They already have contracts with schools, and many have standing agreements. That's where using your school's connections can help... Versus trying to 'choose' somewhere that may not have a contract with your school or interest in taking you. Some will also require clinical placement candidates to interview, and thus compete, for placement.

3. Open your mind a little bit. Many PTs take a different path once they try a variety of settings, and even more at least find that they like/dislike a setting or population differently than expected. And either way, you need to pass your classes and boards, which may be largely composed of topics that don't interest you.

4. Also, check to make sure your expectations are realistic. Do you think you will be treating pro-athletes in your first placement? Spending all your clinicals with only children? You didn't specify where you're heart is set, but it's a good idea to talk to some PTs, here or otherwise, to get a realistic view on clinical education.
 
OP
D
Jun 30, 2015
42
5
Status
Pre-Physical Therapy
I appreciate those great points. There are very valid and helpful. I am aware of that pretty much all programs want to provide a variety of clinical experience to make the students into a well-round PT. I understand that most schools have a official "process" when doing the clinical sites, but there are some programs that are much more easy=going.

However, I am still asking any PT students/grads or pre-PT students if they know of any programs where the clinical experience is heavily influenced upon by the students.
 
Jan 8, 2014
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Idaho State lets you go wherever- you must do one outpatient, one acute, and one neuro rotation (5 rotations total). Additionally, one rotation must be out of state. Other than that, go wild. They have a lot of contracts already set up throughout the west and even a few out of the country, but it is not uncommon that students elect to set up their own.
 

aroszko

5+ Year Member
Oct 24, 2013
176
72
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Physical Therapy Student
I appreciate those great points. There are very valid and helpful. I am aware of that pretty much all programs want to provide a variety of clinical experience to make the students into a well-round PT. I understand that most schools have a official "process" when doing the clinical sites, but there are some programs that are much more easy=going.

However, I am still asking any PT students/grads or pre-PT students if they know of any programs where the clinical experience is heavily influenced upon by the students.
As with what others have posted, most places allow you to go wherever they have a contract, where as others will solicit new spots BUT honestly they want to use the sites that they have connects with, obviously that makes their life easier. Some allow you to contact specific clinics and others to do not (that may need to be a questions you email/call different programs for). If you don't mind me asking what speciality is it that you are trying to go to. ALSO if you happen to want to go somewhere where you currently work or have had affiliation too but programs won't let you go back there as the clinical relationship will be different (say you were a tech somewhere and now you go back as a PT student, they may assume you know the ropes and you eventually assume the tech role again and not a PT student role).
 

callmecrazy

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 17, 2008
461
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Physical Therapist
I appreciate those great points. There are very valid and helpful. I am aware of that pretty much all programs want to provide a variety of clinical experience to make the students into a well-round PT. I understand that most schools have a official "process" when doing the clinical sites, but there are some programs that are much more easy=going.

However, I am still asking any PT students/grads or pre-PT students if they know of any programs where the clinical experience is heavily influenced upon by the students.
And I will still say you're putting your priorities in the wrong place. Why would you believe that you, not even yet in a PT program, know more about selecting clinicals than the faculty at the school where you end up? Programs can be very selective about the facilities and CIs that they choose to place their students with. Let their experience and the experiences of students before you benefit you. I've heard horror stories of students moving to another state for a 'new' clinical they set up only to find that the facility or caseload aren't what they expected.... or the CI is flat-out horrible. Then what do you do?

There are so many factors to weigh during the application process and this just doesn't seem, in my opinion, to be that important.
 
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Aug 3, 2013
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There are so many factors to weigh during the application process and this just doesn't seem, in my opinion, to be that important.
I don't know, I have heard of situations where students have very little say in where they go, and they end up getting hurled out to the far corners of the earth having to come up with the resources to travel to another place and live there for a couple months while making no money. My DCE has been extremely accommodating and has great relationships with people all over. I was able to stay in the geographic area where I live and where I would like to work after school. This has reduced my stress and financial burden by a non-trivial amount, while also giving me some insight into the job market I'd like to enter.

To the OP, it seems like most people are happy with how their DCE works with them, so that might not be a huge distinguishing characteristic between programs. But if you encounter a school where some graduates feel they got railroaded in clinical assignments, it might be a red flag.
 

callmecrazy

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 17, 2008
461
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Physical Therapist
I don't know, I have heard of situations where students have very little say in where they go, and they end up getting hurled out to the far corners of the earth having to come up with the resources to travel to another place and live there for a couple months while making no money. My DCE has been extremely accommodating and has great relationships with people all over. I was able to stay in the geographic area where I live and where I would like to work after school. This has reduced my stress and financial burden by a non-trivial amount, while also giving me some insight into the job market I'd like to enter.

To the OP, it seems like most people are happy with how their DCE works with them, so that might not be a huge distinguishing characteristic between programs. But if you encounter a school where some graduates feel they got railroaded in clinical assignments, it might be a red flag.
I don't disagree with any of this, but I think the part about working with your DCE and using their relationships is key. I think that's exactly what students should be looking for, but it didn't sound like what the OP was looking for. I got more of a "I want to pick because I know best vibe." Perhaps I should have emphasized that a well-established program with supportive faculty is going to produce better placements than a program with an emphasis on 'easy going' and 'lenient'. I wasn't trying to discredit the clinical education setup as a high priority. It is.
 
OP
D
Jun 30, 2015
42
5
Status
Pre-Physical Therapy
And I will still say you're putting your priorities in the wrong place. Why would you believe that you, not even yet in a PT program, know more about selecting clinicals than the faculty at the school where you end up? Programs can be very selective about the facilities and CIs that they choose to place their students with. Let their experience and the experiences of students before you benefit you. I've heard horror stories of students moving to another state for a 'new' clinical they set up only to find that the facility or caseload aren't what they expected.... or the CI is flat-out horrible. Then what do you do?

There are so many factors to weigh during the application process and this just doesn't seem, in my opinion, to be that important.
I'm not saying I know more than the faculty or clinical director about internships, but I DO KNOW WHERE I WANT TO SPECIALIZE. I just want to have more experience in my speciality (ortho-sports), rather than in acute and in-Pt.

I have been around very bright, smart PTs (Bill Hartman, Charlie Weingroff) who know a hell of alot, but can also teach their students even better.
 

Kuhdaytee

5+ Year Member
May 6, 2011
419
174
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Physical Therapy Student
I can understand your logic, but clinicals also help prepare you for the NPTE. They're set up to make you a better clinician overall. I'm sure you could request that your longer full time clinicals are in your preferred specialty.

I'm not sure if you'll find a school that will give you that much freedom when choosing clinicals, but I hope you find something that makes you happy.
 

jchen707

7+ Year Member
Jun 25, 2011
227
11
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Rehab Sci Student
Having experience in rehab/IPR and acute can help you in outpatient. Many of your patients will probably be post surgical and understanding what they went through can help you a lot in POC in op. Also having experience in rehab can help when you get patients post stroke that were d/c from STR to OP now. Though it's rare since they usually go back the rehab hospitals OP, I have one now and I'm a new grad. I'm in an outpatient ortho/sports clinic. It's good experience learning new things and taking what you can from each setting because there are things from every setting you can apply to your specialty. Keep an open mind. If all of your rotations are OP it'd be kind of a waste since you have your whole career ahead of you to be in outpatient
 
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ptisfun2

5+ Year Member
Jan 14, 2013
212
156
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DPT / OTD
I'm not saying I know more than the faculty or clinical director about internships, but I DO KNOW WHERE I WANT TO SPECIALIZE. I just want to have more experience in my speciality (ortho-sports), rather than in acute and in-Pt.

I have been around very bright, smart PTs (Bill Hartman, Charlie Weingroff) who know a hell of alot, but can also teach their students even better.
CAPTE requires exposure to more than one setting for clinical education ('a breadth of settings' is how the standard is interpreted; I am unsure of the exact wording). No school should allow only sports or orthopedic rotations. But most schools have some degree of student control in where you do your rotations, in terms of specific sites, as long as there is a contract set up. I know our ACCE is limiting new contracts without a specific reason (e.g., women's health), so we have a bit more control over the quality of the clinical education. She often says she would rather than 100 good sites for 90 students then 500 mediocre to good sites.
 
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ktachiba

7+ Year Member
Oct 11, 2010
491
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DPT / OTD
Would doing a clinical at a big name hospital (i.e NYU Lutheran Med Center) be looked upon more favorably than doing it at a small, unknown clinic? I'm trying to choose my first clinical site right now and am not sure which to choose.
 
OP
D
Jun 30, 2015
42
5
Status
Pre-Physical Therapy
Sorry to beat around the bush again, but ARE THERE ANY DPT PROGRAMS THAT HAVE A SPORTS MED CONCENTRATION OR SOMETHING SIMILAR?
 
Jun 29, 2015
370
201
Status
Physical Therapy Student
Sorry to beat around the bush again, but ARE THERE ANY DPT PROGRAMS THAT HAVE A SPORTS MED CONCENTRATION OR SOMETHING SIMILAR?
I think you might have blown by the response that already answered your question by ptisfun2. If a program is CAPTE accredited, your answer is no. DPT programs are meant to teach you the generalized education you need to be successful in a variety of settings (and if you think you can be a successful practitioner with exposure to only ONE setting, I'd very highly disagree). If you know you want to do sports medicine, there are certifications you can get after graduation.
 

starrsgirl

7+ Year Member
Oct 5, 2010
1,022
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Physical Therapist
I would also highly recommend you look at Athletic Training for a very sports focused practice. Sure, there are PTs who do sports medicine but those jobs are few and far between. Even a general ortho PT is seeing a large variety of patients, many to most who are not really there for "sports med" per se. yes, you will get a few athletes here and there but you better know all your other therapy moves for the other 90% of patients. If you see yourself working with athletes, day in and day out and treating them as they come off the field and getting them back out there, Athletic Training seems like a more sure route to that goal.
 

starrsgirl

7+ Year Member
Oct 5, 2010
1,022
557
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Physical Therapist
Also, you've gotten many responses on this post. I bet most posters know their PT school well and likely the other few in their state as well as a few schools their friends go to. So the fact that 10 people responded and NO ONE knows of a school where you can do only sports medicine PT is telling.
 

ptisfun2

5+ Year Member
Jan 14, 2013
212
156
Status
DPT / OTD
Would doing a clinical at a big name hospital (i.e NYU Lutheran Med Center) be looked upon more favorably than doing it at a small, unknown clinic? I'm trying to choose my first clinical site right now and am not sure which to choose.
Wherever your ACCE and previous students will tell you the best education is.If I were a student now, I would search for the best educational opportunities to enhances my clinical decision making abilities. This is independent of setting, patient population, etc. The important things in PT (the process of clinical decision making) is far more critical, and for the profession and not for a specific patient population. This is just my opinion, but when you get down to it, the profession of PT is the profession of PT, and the differences between pediatric inpatient in a large hospital and geriatric outpatient in a rural clinic are far less than the similarities as a PT professional.
 
OP
D
Jun 30, 2015
42
5
Status
Pre-Physical Therapy
OK, I will be more clear. No, you cannot do all of your rotations in sports.

If you still do not believe this, go here: http://www.capteonline.org/AccreditationHandbook/
And open PT Standards with Evidence.pdf and read standard 6L (6L1 - 6L3). and Standard 7 (lots of sub sections with this). This will tell you why the answer is no.
That is very helpful. Thank you.

BTdubs.....I'm a 110% coming off as an imbecile. Lo Siento.
 

NMSK89

5+ Year Member
Feb 28, 2013
31
9
Status
Physical Therapy Student
Do you know if it is a concentration or simply a residency program?
It's a concentration, there is also one for early intervention, I should note you have to apply to these concentrations once you're in the program. Here is some info on it, http://www.northeastern.edu/bouve/assets/uploads/sites/6/2015/09/Sports-Concentration-handout.pdf. Keep in mind, you still have to do the standard inpatient/outpatient clinical rotations, but your third will be in sports.
 
OP
D
Jun 30, 2015
42
5
Status
Pre-Physical Therapy
It's a concentration, there is also one for early intervention, I should note you have to apply to these concentrations once you're in the program. Here is some info on it, http://www.northeastern.edu/bouve/assets/uploads/sites/6/2015/09/Sports-Concentration-handout.pdf. Keep in mind, you still have to do the standard inpatient/outpatient clinical rotations, but your third will be in sports.
Best news I've heard in a while.

2 questions

1) Are you by any chance a student at Northeastern?

2) Are there more limited spots based on the sports concentration? Also, does the 3+3 effect the Post-Bacc program acceptance rate?
 

Bluecase

2+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2014
100
61
There are schools where you have more say in your clinicals. Where I went it is possible to only do one type of setting multiple times. The ACCE recommends against it but they listen to what you want.

PM me for more info if you want.
 

NMSK89

5+ Year Member
Feb 28, 2013
31
9
Status
Physical Therapy Student
Best news I've heard in a while.

2 questions

1) Are you by any chance a student at Northeastern?

2) Are there more limited spots based on the sports concentration? Also, does the 3+3 effect the Post-Bacc program acceptance rate?
Yes, I'm a current student. The spots are limited, and freshman entry only slightly affects PB acceptance rates. If you want you can pm me for more details.
 

jchen707

7+ Year Member
Jun 25, 2011
227
11
Status
Rehab Sci Student
Northeastern actually just started a sports residency this year so they have both a concentration for their DPTs and a residency
 
Feb 13, 2015
5
6
I'm not saying I know more than the faculty or clinical director about internships, but I DO KNOW WHERE I WANT TO SPECIALIZE. I just want to have more experience in my speciality (ortho-sports), rather than in acute and in-Pt.

I have been around very bright, smart PTs (Bill Hartman, Charlie Weingroff) who know a hell of alot, but can also teach their students even better.
Did you get a clinical with Hartman? I am interested in IFAST for my ortho. If so, how did it go? Thanks!
 
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