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Journey of a DPT Student

Finding Your Voice

Published May 28, 2013 4:30 PM by Lauren Rosso

With experience comes responsibility. It's a simple concept, but I never fully appreciated it until recently when I was involved in the discharge decision-making process for patients I've been working with. As I'm sure any physical therapist working in inpatient rehab knows, we have weekly staff meetings to determine goals, establish discharge dates and discuss progress for each patient on the unit. Now that I'm starting to settle in, I'm also getting the opportunity to participate in these meetings and provide my clinical insight.

While staff and similar meetings continue to be one of the most challenging (and intimidating) aspects of my current clinical rotation, I also recognize them as opportunities to gain confidence and experience with interprofessional communication and in my prognostic decision-making skills. As a student, I'd be willing to bet that communicating with doctors, nurses and the rest of the medical team about a patient's physical status and attainable goals can be one of the most difficult skills to master. I'm also recognizing that these types of skills can only come about through experience and by making a lot of embarrassing mistakes.

The good news -- I'm getting better! I spend a lot of time outside of work preparing what to say and analyzing my assessment skills; however it's been paying off. The key for me has been to approach these interactions as prepared as possible so I don't draw a complete blank when I show up. I also feel like with each opportunity, I'm gaining confidence in the knowledge that I have and my ability to communicate. It's amazing how a full-time placement can really change the way you view yourself as a therapist, and hopefully how your coworkers view your skills too.

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2 comments

I'm happy to know that my blog has helped!  And you are absolutely not alone in feeling "empty".  I remember when I wrote that post, many of my classmates were having similar feelings.  There were a lot of heart-to-hearts and lot of problem solving, but the good news is that we eventually got past it. I don't know how your program is structured, but I found that my motivation changed once the program was more "clinically" focused.  Once classes shifted toward application of material and we got to spend more time treating patients, I felt much more connected to what I was doing.  I also think there comes a time at the end of the first year where you get completely burnt out, which I realize now is normal (and warranted!)  It's hard work!  So hang in there.  I hope things turn around for you like they did for me- just be patient with it.  Good luck and feel free to get in touch if you need any help!

Lauren Rosso June 4, 2013 7:26 PM

I've never commented on a blog before, but I just had to when I found yours.  I'm also a DPT student and am currently in the last semester of my first year.  Even though I'm doing ok in classes and comprehending the material I sometimes feel "empty" at the end of the day and question myself as to why I"m even in the program.  This has been a lingering feeling for a while and has been disheartening.  While on the internet searching for ways to rekindle my motivation I stumbled across your blog post on losing motivation and it really helped me.  Knowing that I'm not alone with these feelings is comforting, and reading your recent posts gives me hope for my future in the program.  So to keep this short, I just wanted to say thank you for making this blog, and best of luck to you throughout your program and professional career.

PT Student June 1, 2013 1:36 PM

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