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Journey of a DPT Student

Continuum of Care

Published November 25, 2013 5:50 PM by Lauren Rosso

In transferring from inpatient rehab to a local outpatient PT clinic, I have the unique opportunity to see patients throughout their course of recovery. When I arrived to my current clinical site, I recognized at least three patients who had been on either the brain injury or spinal cord injury units when I was completing my clinical rotations at the hospital, and I just found out that one more is due to be evaluated in the next month.

One particular case stands out. A patient currently on my caseload was completing his second course of inpatient rehab when I was placed on the brain injury unit in July. I ended up transferring to another clinical before he was discharged, however I remember exactly how he was doing when I left.

I'll be honest -- I saw him on my schedule for outpatient PT and wasn't really sure what to expect. He had a very complicated medical course including a significant brain injury as well as orthopedic complications (including a transfemoral amputation). I'm happy to say he's doing better than I could have imagined. It's a very valuable experience to see a patient progress through therapy, recovery, and even compensation. Seeing the bigger picture and the protracted process of therapy gives a new perspective to which skills are important "when," and what a patient truly needs to achieve in order to progress to higher-level activities.

I'm looking forward to the other patient who will be evaluated at the end of this month. He was one of my favorite and most exciting patients to treat on the spinal cord injury unit. I got to know both he and his family very well during the five weeks that we worked together, and his wife sent me an e-mail yesterday to let me know they would be seeing me on the "outpatient side." They even said they're excited to get to work with me again. I'm sure his continued course of PT will be another valuable experience in how patients recover and I'm excited to see the progress he has made in the month since I left the hospital.

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2 comments

I hope you get the chance to do the same!  I got very lucky in the sequence of my clinical rotations and I'm very thankful for that.  I feel the same way about acute care, however there are some great benefits to learning to details of that setting.  It's challenging, but a huge benefit from a PT knowledge standpoint.  (And also very helpful for the boards!)  Good luck with everything!

Lauren Rosso February 21, 2014 8:32 AM

Lauren, I am a first year DPT student and it was so nice to read that you will continue to treat patients you have previously worked with in the hospital. I have done most of my work in an outpatient setting, which allowed me the time to really get to know the patients. While your situation may be unique, I worry that when I get to an acute care clinical I won't have enough time to connect with patients. It was a relief to read that you felt like you still had the chance to watch your patients progress through therapy and recovery. Thanks for sharing!

Clara M. February 17, 2014 8:49 PM
Greenville NC

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