As my first year is coming to an end (which is hard to believe), I'm starting to think about potential specialty areas for next fall's affiliation. The first clinicals were assigned to us, and the only requirement was that we each experience both an outpatient and inpatient setting. Aside from that, we didn't have much say in our placements. This coming fall, however, we can choose to specialize in a number of areas. Some are very specific: dance, aquatics and hand therapy. Other "specialties" are setting-dependent. I seem to be having a harder time with the latter. I can confidently say that I'm not going to specialize in dance therapy, but I can't decide what to do when it comes to acute, subacute or neuro rehabilitation.
The majority of my clinical rotations have thus far been outpatient, which is why I am leaning toward some sort of inpatient setting in the fall. I just can't decide between the different options that are available to us. I want to be in the setting where I will acquire the widest range of skills, but I honestly don't know what that would be. My gut tells me that subacute rehab will be best, however I'm not familiar enough with the different settings to know if that's correct.
Life was so simple when the rotations were assigned to us. Now that we can choose, I'm starting to realize I'm inching closer and closer to a career in physical therapy. I still have a long way to go, but these types of decisions make the end seem much more tangible.