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Journey of a DPT Student

The DPT Growing Process

Published September 12, 2013 2:17 PM by Lauren Rosso

With my CI leaving for a weeklong beach trip and three-quarters of our caseload being discharged this week, I'm suddenly finding myself in a decision-maker's role for planning and coordinating their departure from inpatient rehab. If these responsibilities had been placed in my lap five weeks into my first clinical rotation, I would have been flustered to no end and surely would have missed many important details. It's nice to know that despite the inevitable glitches that will pop up in the next week, I feel confident enough to get through it without having a breakdown.

This is a big step for me. I finally feel like I'm able to see the whole picture and bring more than just day-to-day PT skills to the table. I ran into a few first- and second-year students at a department event last week, and this became even more apparent. In a few conversations I overheard between the students and faculty members, I sensed so much hesitancy and confusion when the students were talking about their clinical placements and performance. Those are feelings I'm all too familiar with, but I also realized that I haven't felt completely clueless in a long time. The growing process is becoming abundantly apparent.

I equate this all to learning a language. The easiest way to become proficient is to completely immerse yourself in the culture. That's how I feel about my PT skills. I've been completely immersed in the PT world for four months now, and I feel like I'm finally figuring out how to speak the language, albeit at a fifth-grade level.

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Katie- my best advice is to admit when you don't know something.  There's a difference between testing your knowledge and completely making things up.  Ask questions when you need to, write down answers that you didn't know.  They won't expect you to be functioning like a full-time clinician, so don't put that kind of pressure on yourself.  

Good luck!

Lauren Rosso March 5, 2014 5:34 PM
Pittsburgh PA

Hi Lauren,

I am currently a first year DPT student and only weeks away from being sent off on my first clinical rotation. You have hit the nail on the head when you talked about the hesitation and confusion of us heading off to apply what we have learned in the classroom for the first time. I feel like I am going to completely blank when I start and being the overachiever that I am, I am terrified to disappoint or make a bad impression on my CI. It is comforting to hear that it does get better and I wont always feel this clueless. I am going to do as you say and just completely immerse myself in the culture and learn as much as I can. Do you have any more advice to a first year going off on their first clinical?

Katie March 5, 2014 2:35 PM
Greenville NC

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