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Journey of a DPT Student

Acute Care

Published October 8, 2012 12:45 PM by Lauren Rosso

This current clinical is my first exposure to acute-care physical therapy, and up until last week, I wasn't finding myself intimidated like the average PT student. Maybe it's because my CI was shielding me from the most complicated cases and kept my workload pretty low, but I remember classmates and friends talking about the complexities of acute care and I just hadn't been having the same experience.

Last week seems to have been a turning point and while I still don't think I would use the word "intimidated," I can definitely see how things could become overwhelming. Particularly when it comes to keeping up with documentation. I was thoroughly impressed with myself for being able to manage nine patients in one morning. What I didn't realize was that I had barely completed any of the paperwork. Needless to say, I spent my entire lunch break scrambling to catch up and still needed extra time in the afternoon (and a lot of guidance) to complete everything. Definitely not my most efficient day in the clinic, but I learned a lot.

In general, I don't think acute-care PT is where I see myself working in the future. However, I'm definitely starting to realize the value of this clinical in terms of patient management. In learning how to monitor both the medical status of a patient and also the volume that we see, I feel like I'm gaining very valuable clinical skills.


Lauren, it is quite interesting that you do not feel "intimidated" by the acute-care setting.  Just a few days ago I was feeling pretty overwhelmed while observing with a PT in the ICU.  There are so many things to take into account when working in those types of settings.  For example, lab values, medications, and multiple medical diagnoses just to name a few of things a PT must review before working with a patient.  As a first year PT student I was terrified but also amazed that the PT could read through what seemed like such complex information and interpret it.  My second clinical rotation, in October of this year, will be in the acute setting.  I hope that my experience is similar to yours and not too intimidating.

Courtney, DPT Student March 6, 2013 3:08 PM
Greenville NC

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