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Life of a PTA

Clinical Fatigue

Published January 7, 2011 3:43 PM by Allison Young

Having officially finished the first week of a full-time clinical, I can only express amazement at my luck for choosing such a rewarding profession... and my complete exhaustion. The positives of this clinical experience are numerous. From my fantastic (and patient) CI to the Pilates-based therapeutic exercise techniques on which this outpatient clinic bases its practice; every day has been packed with learning opportunities. The downside is having zero energy after a 9-hour day for my two kids (and two dogs) that need to be fed, loved and tucked into bed.

Although I love my sweet little family and I do get assistance from the spouse (there have been a lot of Mac 'n cheese dinners served this week), I'm still struggling not to fall asleep as I walk through the front door. I know this fatigue will pass. This isn't my first clinical nor my last (I have another 5-week following the completion of this one).

The general stress and panic of the first days of clinical usually subside after about a week and a half once the learning curve has been mastered. So needless to say, day 10 is circled on my calendar. Luckily, once I'm in the clinic I feel swept up in the different diagnoses, therapist styles and patient personalities. Not a day goes by that I haven't added another new skill to my base of knowledge. This is of course what practical experience is all about.

Although I feel frustrated at times with my mistakes during a simple task, I try to remember that this is the time to make those mistakes, ask questions and continue to learn. Hopefully, my children see my dedication and drive in accomplishing my goal of being a PTA and ultimately improving our quality of life. In the meantime, I'll continue to keep my focus while in the clinic, (wear comfortable shoes) and leave the weekends for family.


Those routines build memories and security.  We also use vacations - time away with no computer, no telephone - as a time to connect without intrusion.  It is amazing to me the details our children remember about our vacations.

Protecting our time with family against distractions - whether that time is nighttime reading, a weekend, or a weeklong vacation - conveys our committment to them.

Janey Goude January 9, 2011 8:32 PM

Good advice, Janey. I will try to keep temptations to a minimum over the weekend (and you're right- it's hard to do!)  Luckily the worst is over when it comes to choosing school over the kids.  Unfortunately there were countless times during the program when I had to turn my children away to study for a major test the next day.  That is the difficult reality of going back to school after having children.  The one small routine I have never skipped is reading to them everynight (they sleep in the same room)-  I am so glad we maintained that routine because it means so much to them (and myself).  I appreciate and welcome your insight - you speak from experience, yourself!

Allison Young January 7, 2011 9:22 PM


I've followed your blog since you started.  I know you love your family and you are working hard to maintain a balance.  I can only imagine how difficult it is for a mother of young children to be a full-time student in a demanding program.  

What I'm about to say is not to heap on guilt, just to inject realism.  Your children do not have the cognitive reckoning to understand what you hope they do.  They simply miss their mama when she does not have the energy to interact with them.  So, when weekend temptations come, and they will, remind yourself that those big eyes looking up at you do not understand and tell the temptations to take a hike!  

Janey Goude January 7, 2011 7:26 PM

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