What to expect on first day

Discussion in 'Pre-Physical Therapy' started by MJ000, Sep 8, 2014.

  1. MJ000

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    I finally have PT observation hours set up snd I start tomorrow. What should I expect on the first day? Any advice?
    Thanks!
     
  2. hearditfromfiver

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    I would suggest investing in a pair of tan slacks if you don't have some already, and wearing a nicer top. Also if you can show up a little earlier than your starting time to start off with a good impression. This will leave time to fill out any volunteer paperwork they will give you, and some leniency if you get turned around trying to find the office. Expect to dive right into volunteering and learn the system as you go, that's what happened in all my settings so far.
     
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  3. jaypac523

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    Pay attention to how your PT interacts with their patients, gestures, questions, responses from both ends. If you have time before and after seeing patients with your PT asks questions about treatments diagnosis. but keep it short.
    During my acute hospital observation before we saw patients the pt would go over their medical chart and history and any doctor referrals and restrictions. This is a good time to ask questions about the PTs approach to treating patients.
    Smile be pleasant and respectful to the patients they can be as nervous as you are observing and not knowing who you are. And remember your a shadow so unless the pt is directly asking you to do something as much as you want to you can't but be open to offering help at anytime to the pt not to the patient for liability reasons. I was fortunate enough that in all my settings my PTs allowed me to participate with their treatment whether it be following with a wheelchair, doing exercises with the patient and even conversing with the patients during their treatment and sharing their experiences having an active role in evaluations.

    Good luck and I hope your observation experiences go well and you get to learn a lot!
     
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  4. DesertPT

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    Buying a couple pairs of khakis and a two or three gray/black/dark blue polos will help you out...this is what the PTs have worn pretty much everywhere I've been...as the white coat is to the doctor, khakis and a polo are to the PT lol
     
  5. Watson27

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    OP, let us know how it goes today!

    I think it all depends on the facility and the PT. My best experiences involved a PT who was also a clinical instructor, so she was constantly explaining everything to me as she went and giving me advice between patients. But I also shadowed PTs who would act as if I wasn't there and I was expected to remain silent during treatment. Those hours were so boring and awkward.

    And as far as the "khakis and polo uniform," I've been in multiple facilities where the PTs all wore white coats. :)
     
  6. DesertPT

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    This has been my experience to. The observation I have done where the PT actually explained things and introduced me to the patient and asked me to help with little things from time to time has been sooooo much better than the hours with PTs who pretty much ignore you...but if you observe a number of PTs you will have a mixture of both.
     
  7. DesertPT

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    There go those PTs again trying to convince everyone they are "doctors", with their white coats and their direct access...

    :rolleyes:
     
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  8. jjoy

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    Get very comfortable shoes! Even if you are only volunteering/observing for a few hours, wear very flexible and supportive footwear. If you're not being provided a uniform, wear a formal casual, neutral toned outfit. Where I do my observations, I wear a name tag that specifies that I am either a volunteer or student observer.

    Ask questions, especially if you can ask many people. I talk to the patients, the therapists, DPT students, the aides. I like to learn as much as possible, and see lots of viewpoints towards the profession. I'm lucky enough to currently do my observations hours at a sight where there are a lot of current DPT students (from schools I want to apply to) doing their clinicals. Most of my learning this summer has come from hanging by them, learning about their school programs, getting their experiences/expectations of the field.

    When you interact with the patients, listen to them! There was a student I was doing observations with a few weeks ago who always made assumptions about a patients treatment or reason for being in PT. Some patients too, really want someone to talk to while they're waiting or resting. I have a friendship now with a quite a few patients, and learned a lot too.


    Learn the area where you'll be observing. Learn the equipment. Interact with all staff, from the front office/desk down up to management. Look at or read up on PT literature. Honestly, at this stage a lot of what I read about PT is so overwhelming that I'm surprised when I can even retain it, relate it, or understand it. But, it helps especially during break with the therapists. I personally like to watch youtube vidoes, listen to podcast, or search newspaper sites to get a feel of PT in the public. When I talk with the therapists I go everywhere from rehab careers, medicine, exercise, mental health, fashion (patients personalizing their walking aides with cheetah prints and tennis balls is very popular at my site! lol), school (one of the PTAs is a Chemistry genius, and helps with my random questions), money (I never flat out asked anyone how much they make... I prefer to ask if they feel that this school is worthy investment, especially newly minted therapists), etc.

    Basically, expect nothing and gain everything! I can in my site with many expectations, especially because I volunteered with PTs a few years back. When someone says PT is fast evolving, they truly mean it. A lot of what I'm observing today is different (or expanded) from what I observed years ago. Every time I go to one of my sites I learn, and I mean I LEARN. Whether or not its a new PT invention, diagnosis, treatment technique, or viewpoint, its a learning experience.
     
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  9. OP
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    MJ000

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    Thank you all! My first day went very well. I was pleasantly surprised. My PT was great and started explaining everything to me as soon as I arrived (she was in the middle of treatment at that point). I also talked with the patients as they were getting treatment and they explained their "story" to me. I def wish I'd taken Anatomy and Physiology first, but I start that later in the semester. I would have a better grasp of what was going on in my observations if I had started Anatomy already. I was there 4 hours today and will do that for the remainder of the week so I hope it continues to go well. Then, next week, I start at a hospital where I will observe every Monday for the next 8 weeks for 8 hours a day. Sounds like a long day! Thanks again for all the advice.
     
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  10. onalnincli

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    Expect to dive right into volunteering and learn the system as you go, that's what happened in all my settings so far.[​IMG]
     
  11. DesertPT

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    Nice, sounds like you have some great stuff set up!

    I have had a couple PTs grill me on anatomy but they are mostly just trying to keep you on your toes if you are a pre-PT student. Don't worry the real grillings are still yet to come haha.
     

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