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Journey of a DPT Student

Clothing in the Clinic

Published January 23, 2012 2:56 PM by Lauren Rosso

Today at my clinic, I treated a patient who came dressed for PT in heels, tight jeans and a blazer. Bear in mind that this patient's exercise program includes wall squats, leg press, lateral step-ups and about six other exercises for which high heels would be a major safety concern. I sometimes wonder what patients are thinking when they come into the clinic. It's actually funny to me that we would have to advise patients they should dress in comfortable, forgiving clothing for a session that is going to require them to exercise. I guess I should recognize that not everyone is familiar with exercise settings, but it seems like it should be common sense.

We also had a patient who came to the clinic wearing jeans and dress shoes. This patient starts every session with a 10 minute light jog, and every time he's there, he wears his dress shoes. I can't tell you how many times we have suggested to him that he should wear sneakers (which he claims to own), yet every time he shows up, he's in dress shoes. It's almost comical at this point.

There weren't these kinds of problems at my last clinical. The patient population is very different (my current clinical is in the city while my last clinical was in a very rural area). Either way, it's not something I've ever thought about before, and I'm wondering if it's a common occurrence?

3 comments

Seems like common sense, doesn't it?  It doesn't bother me as much as it baffles me.  I know I can't personally do anything remotely athletic if I'm not in comfortable clothes.  

Lauren Rosso January 25, 2012 11:30 PM

Yes, this is a common occurence unfortunately. I'm also a DPT student currently, and while I haven't gone on a clinical affiliation yet, I have lots of internship experience with poorly dressed individuals. There was one time where I was shadowing a PT in an outpatient clinic while he was doing an ultrasound treatment and the gentleman he was working with had on a full business suit, it just blew my mind. At a different clinic, I worked with a patient who was suffering from foot and ankle issues that showed up in heels despite being advised not to wear them. I have seen plenty of men come in with jeans and dress shoes on and ladies with dress shirts and skirts, as if they don't realize that they are coming in to exercise, not go out on the town. All you can ever do is politely suggest they wear more appropriate clothing and hope they do next visit!

Jonathan January 25, 2012 11:31 AM

In OP, yes.  I've had to learn to provide Tx through dress clothes, etc.  It's not like school where everyone is in shorts and can remove their t-shirt.  Some places have shorts for patients to wear, which is nice.  If you truly need the patient to have more appropriate clothes, explain to them why and if you can, give them a reminder call the day prior to their appt.  Show them the restroom where they can change.  If they still come in dress clothes, do your best!  In my other clinical settings, it's been more or less gowns/PJs... not really an issue.  Anyone else?

Tasha Parman January 24, 2012 9:54 PM

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