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Journey of a DPT Student

Saying Goodbye at Your Clinical Site

Published December 5, 2011 5:33 PM by Lauren Rosso

With our first affiliations ending on Thursday, there's been a lot of buzz within my class about the standard "departure procedure" from a clinical site. No one really knows what to expect. There's been a bit of debate regarding whether or not we're expected to have a gift, card or something of that nature for our clinical instructors, but most of my classmates seem to think that at least a small present is warranted.

From what I can remember, the students who came to the clinic where I used to work showed up with at least a card. At the same time, I think most of them had a positive experience, which I think is an important factor. My classmates and I talked about this a lot - whether or not your experience dictates the kind of gratitude you show at the end. For the most part, we've all enjoyed our placements. But there are a few people who were not satisfied with their affiliations. For them, I don't really know what to think. On one hand, I think you should show appreciation for the learning experience, even if it wasn't ideal. On the other hand, there are some clinical instructors who did not provide a positive learning environment, and I'm not sure I would want to "thank" somebody for that.

The other conversation we had was whether or not going to a "goodbye" happy hour was acceptable. I'm torn on that one too. I don't necessarily think it's inappropriate, but there are probably better ways to say "goodbye." Even though I think it could be fun, I'm not sure I would do it.

6 comments

I would first like to thank you for this incredible resource for the physical therapy field, especially students. Being a first year, I read numerous of your early posts and they sound as if I wrote them myself which provided great inspiration and hope!

Since I am about to go embark on my first clinical, I am so happy to have found this post! Saying goodbye to a site has not even crossed my mind yet and we have not really touched on that yet in class. I am glad to see a great suggestion as to an "accepted" way for budget-strapped students to thank a place that taught them so much (that I am so excited for)!

Jennifer

SPT

Jennifer Warren, , SPT ECU March 17, 2014 12:19 PM
Greenville NC

I agree, a card is an easy solution, and even if you didn't have the best relationship with your CI, keep in mind that they aren't getting any kind of compensation for taking you on and I'm sure you learned something valuable over a couple of months (never underestimate the amount you learn by exposure alone).  

Drinking issue.  I am a non-traditional 3rd year student, who worked in the professional field for 6 years before returning to grad school.  Keep in mind that you are an adult and a happy hour does not imply that you are a drunken college student or that you are, in any way, an unacceptable applicant .  On the contrary, showing an interest in spending time with your soon-to-be colleagues is an excellent way to show them that you are someone that they would 'want' to spend the next year, or ten years with.  It is important to form good relationships and network effectively; often this involves happy hours and other events with alcohol.  Remember, that if you are going to work somewhere you have to like them too, so if they are going to judge you for having a drink at a company event, then you might consider this in your decision making process.  My only suggestion is have a drink or two, don't go overboard; you definitely don't want to present yourself poorly.  

Zach V. February 23, 2013 6:13 PM

I know this is very much after the fact, but in case anyone was wondering, I went with a card for my CI and some cookies for the entire clinic.  (Thanks for the advice Dean and Kim.)  I decided against happy hour, which I think was a good choice.  

My current clinical is a much different climate, so I might entertain the idea of happy hour at the end of this one.  

Lauren Rosso January 12, 2012 7:27 PM

Hey! First time reader--love your posts.  I'm a 3rd year student in KS.  I have to say, you've hit the mark on so many things that I experienced too--the difference between clinic and classroom, maintaining relationships, getting to know your classmates, your first eval, etc.  I plan to keep reading because it's a nice perspective on how far we all come in a short few years (even though we have miles to go still), and if I have any advice, I'll be sure to share. Keep it up!

As for the issue at hand, I agree with others that a card is appropriate.  Good experience or not, they did sacrifice some time to try to educate you.  For those who had bad experiences, I would just concentrate on thanking the CIs for any thing positive (if abandoned, thank them for the independence), or just restate any lesson you learned.  I've given my CIs small gifts (gift card to a local movie theater or restaurant) because I know they did spend some of their outside time on things like my evals and what not, but I don't think it's expected per se.  I wouldn't recommend drinking with them everyone though you're all adults.  If they take you out, get a soda.  You can drink with them if they ever become your co-workers or you meet up at a conference when you're an independent DPT.  Congrats!

Tasha December 9, 2011 10:08 AM
Lawrence KS

I'm just finishing a clinic rotation this week too.  In the past I've given a card to my CI and cookies for the whole crew.  Everyone has participated in my learning and I feel like one of the crew, without a paycheck.

Don't know about the drink.  I've had a goodby lunch before.

Kim L, SPTA December 6, 2011 8:47 PM
Sacramento CA

A card is always appropriate. For many of the same reasons we don't accept gifts from clients/patients I think a gift to a CI may be perceived as inappropriate.

The happy hour dilemma...just remember that you may see these people again for a job interview. What sort of memories do you want to leave with them? If they are throwing a happy hour for you and an outright "no thank you" doesn't feel right, then one drink and goodnight. You won't leave them with a bad impression in any regard that way.  

Congrats on completing your first clinical!

Dean Metz December 5, 2011 6:28 PM

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