Putting in the Hours
One of the most admirable qualities about my current clinical instructor is her unyielding dedication to her patients and their recovery. On any given day, she is the first to arrive and last to leave the unit... and she's been doing this for longer than I've been alive.
I find myself in awe of her commitment and patience. Here's a great example: On Friday morning, a new patient arrived to the unit from out of state. He has unfortunately fallen through the cracks of the referral system and now, 10 months after his injury, finally made it to inpatient rehab. This man has a C5 incomplete spinal cord injury, and in all of his time in therapy has never been fitted for a wheelchair. Realizing this, my clinical instructor stayed at work until 6 p.m. on Friday to figure out which medical equipment companies will travel to his area in order to start the process of ordering a wheelchair.
Everyone else on the unit (myself included) was hurrying to finish their documentation so we could get out of work and start the weekend. When I realized what was happening, I had one of those "self-evaluation" moments. I realized that I have an incredible opportunity to learn from an expert clinician, and the lessons aren't going to stop with hands-on skills. I stopped what I was doing and immediately started Google-ing medical supply companies in eastern Ohio. I stayed until 6:00 with her, and I learned more in that hour-and-a-half about wheelchairs, letters of medical necessity, discharge planning and professional skills than I have since I started my clinicals.