Hands On Clinical Education at CC’s

By Jenny Johnson – CC’s Staf


If you have been in our office over the last few weeks you may have noticed a few extra bodies floating around amongst our PT docs. CC’s Physical Therapy works closely with the University of Mary, as well as other pre-PT programs, to allow students to get hands on experience both before and during their graduate education. We have three levels of clinical education that we foster in our clinic:

Observation students – These students are completing observation hours prior to applying to a physical therapy graduate program. Most of them are undergraduate students, who have to have a requisite number of hours logged before they can apply to a PT program. Occasionally we have some high school students doing some observation hours as well, as part of a medical-related careers class or for projects for school.

ICE Students – These students are part of an Integrated Clinical Experience (ICE) in their first semester of their first year of PT school at UMary. This program has been initiated in the last few years to get students out into the clinics, around patients, and staring to utilize the skills as they are learning them in the classroom. It’s a nice break for them to get out of the classroom and away from the books for a few hours each week, and expose them to various aspects of our profession. We try to always get these students some hands-on experience so they can feel, assess, and communicate with patients that have real impairments versus practicing on their classmates that have to fake various conditions.

Full Time Clinical Students – These students are completing (typically) a 10-week clinical rotation, or internship, and are with us all day, every day during that time. In our clinic, these are 2nd or 3rd year students and have their own set of standards and expectations they have to meet. They will be doing much more evaluations and treatments with us, and are given more independence as their clinical progresses. If they are doing their last clinical, we may have them seeing some of “their own” patients as they will be graduating and thrown into the real world within weeks of finishing with us. Of course, we are always supervising and overseeing all students, so they (and our patients) are never just thrown to the wolves. These clinicals are meant to give students as much real-world experience as possible, so they are competent and comfortable once they enter our profession.

If you have been one of our patients when we have had students around recently, or in the past, we send out our sincere gratitude to you for helping us create this great learning environment. Our students always have so much fun, and truly appreciate when they are allowed to feel something, try something, or test something on you. Feeling first-hand what they have only been studying in class or reading in a text really is an eye-opener for them. Everyone has to learn somehow, and has to start somewhere, so we really appreciate when patients are so open to these inquiring minds that will be the future of our profession. Our staff loves to teach and spread our knowledge and skills with these students, and we learn so much from them in return.

Post Author: Jenny Johnson

Jenny is a DPT, wife, baseball lover, kayaker, dog wrangler, and new mom to sweet baby, Bria


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