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Journey of a DPT Student

Lauren, the Toolwoman

Published August 12, 2013 8:46 AM by Lauren Rosso
I arrived to the spinal cord injury unit at 7:50 on Monday morning, and by 8:45, I was taking apart a power wheelchair. There have been a lot of times over the past two years when I've realized that school can only prepare you for so much, and this was definitely one of them. 

I've learned more about wheelchairs in five days that I did in the past four years, which included working as a physical therapy aide in an inpatient rehab hospital... on a spinal cord injury unit. Since the power wheelchair on Monday, I've taken apart two other chairs, pressure-mapped a patient, and assisted in writing a letter of medical necessity for a wheelchair. My scrubs are stained with grease and my nails are chipped, but I can honestly say I love the technical side of powered and manual wheelchairs and I can't wait to learn more.

The new unit, as expected, is providing an entirely different clinical experience. I'm eager to soak up as much information as possible from my new clinical instructor and the other therapists on the unit -- particularly when it comes to wheelchairs, seating and assistive technologies. The breadth of their knowledge is borderline intimidating. I'm looking forward to reflecting on this blog in three months to see just how much I've learned. In the meantime, I'm going to Google as much as I can about tools, bolts, nuts and wheelchair adjustments.

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Welcome to my world!  All I learned about wheelchairs in my PTA program was that they had wheels, seats, backs, armrests, footrests and brakes.  I work in a day program for adults with special needs where there are about 37 wheelchair users.  Every day there is something on at least one wheelchair that needs attention.  I like to joke that I should wear a tool belt!

Liz, Special Needs Adults - PTA August 15, 2013 2:51 PM
Billerica MA

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