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Journey of a DPT Student

What I'll Take Away from My Clinical Abroad

Published August 20, 2012 9:59 AM by Lauren Rosso

I apologize for the delay in posting a new blog. I've been traveling around Europe for the past few weeks and Internet access has been variable. Now that the trip is nearly over, I've had some time to reflect on the experience.

I had an amazingly positive clinical affiliation at the Galleries Day Unit in northeast England. I've learned so much about myself both professionally and personally, and I'm starting to grasp some direction for my career as a result. 

I really value and admire clinicians who can develop rapport with their patients. It makes such a difference in the patient's willingness to be an active participant in the course of his care. It's a skill that I'm realizing requires a balance between confidence, knowledge and compassion, as well as knowing when to exhibit each. I think I'm one-third of the way there -- I still need to work on the knowledge and confidence bits. Seeing what a difference rapport makes is driving me to learn as much as possible in the next two years. 

On the other side of things, I now realize that you don't have to have an answer to every question or odd presentation that you see in the clinic. This really stressed me out before. I used to feel so horrible if a patient asked me something and I couldn't answer him. What matters is that you take the time to follow up with whatever you don't know. I honestly think patients just appreciate it when you listen to what they have to say. 

I really dislike manual muscle testing. I did a lot more of it during this clinical than previous ones, and I just don't think it's useful. I plan on looking into functional movement screening when I get home to see what I can learn. I want another way to quantify a patient's strength that isn't as subjective as MMT. The last thing I realized is that I desperately need to review musculoskeletal/orthopedic tests. I'm ashamed at how much I forget about the special tests for each specific joint. I could do with an anatomy review too. 

It's been an amazing summer and I can't wait to see how some of these skills transfer to my next affiliation. It's exciting to see my career path slowly forming as I make my way through the program.


As a 1st year DPT student it is so good to see that others (especially those in different programs) have the same concerns and insecurities about their clinical affiliations. We are about to start our first affiliation and one of my biggest concerns is about what I do not know yet! It is comforting to hear from your experience that patients seem to not care so much whether they get their answer right away, but more so that we are being thorough and getting them the BEST answer... even if it takes some research.

I am also so envious that you have had the opportunity to do an affiliation internationally! Seeing the PT world through the eyes of another culture is an experience that can not be paralleled and one that is not readily available at the DPT school I attend. I hope that you were able to bring back with you new insights into PT, to share with others in your program. Thanks for your posts!

Kathryn March 6, 2013 11:25 PM

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