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Journey of a DPT Student

Saying Goodbye

Published April 21, 2014 4:25 PM by Lauren Rosso

I completed my final day of clinical... ever. I'll never have to sign "SPT" again. I won't need to have notes cosigned. And I will never, ever fill out a self-assessment of clinical skills again. I feel like I suddenly grew up, got kicked out of the house, and all I'm really waiting for is a small piece of paper to tell me that I'm on my own.

It's an incredible feeling, but the reality of it all is about to set in. I likely still have two months or more until I'm able to practice independently. Apparently even though I took the boards early, the processing time for my degree and subsequently my license is going to take a while. (I'm not exactly sure why it takes one month for my degree to be displayed on my license, but that's what they told me).

Saying goodbye is going to be a theme in the next few weeks. It started with my coworkers. I had been at this last clinical rotation for six months, so in a way I started to feel like a part of the "family." It's a long time to be in one place, and you definitely start to integrate into the environment much more when you're around for so long. If I wasn't graduating, I think I would have been even sadder to leave that clinical site, but the prospect of being finished helped to avoid a tearful goodbye.

What's really going to get me is when I have to say goodbye to some incredible friends who will be leaving the area. It seems like a vast majority will be leaving the city of Pittsburgh to pursue job opportunities across the country. I've spent a lot of time with this group in the past three years and I've made friends that will last a lifetime -- even if they are moving 2,000 miles away.

I can guarantee a tearful goodbye next week when we all go our separate ways after graduation. I'm from Pittsburgh, so going to school here was like coming home. But I've also learned to associate my home with a number of my classmates, and it's going to feel very strange to be here without them. For better or worse, we've become a huge part of each other's lives and I'm so thankful for their friendship and sanity throughout this journey. One more week. One more blog. I can't believe it!

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After finishing my final clinical rotation yesterday, I realized how close I am to being a "real" physical therapist. No longer will I have a clinical instructor to look to for guidance; it will be my own license on the line. This final clinical was in an outpatient orthopedic and sports setting, and it was definitely my favorite experience. I learned more than I ever thought possible. However, I think the most important thing I gained from the affiliation was confidence in my abilities as an independent clinician. I learned that I have the ability to use my classroom knowledge and apply it to a clinical setting.

I couldn't agree more about saying goodbye to my classmates. Because we have 30 people in each class, it allows us to become a close group. I wouldn't trade these past three years for anything. These people have become such amazing friends, and I'm excited to see which direction the field of physical therapy takes them. I'm glad we get to spend our last 6 weeks all together, remembering all the fun we've had, and taking in our last experiences as PT students before we enter the "real world".

Emily DeNardis, SPT March 21, 2015 5:50 PM

Lauren, I am finishing up my last clinical rotation this week.  I have been at this site for 10 weeks and it will definitely be difficult to leave on Friday.  The therapists at the clinic have been absolutely wonderful to work with and I feel like a part of the team!  It's such an exciting time as graduation is approaching, but it's always hard to say goodbye to friends.  I do have to say that I am excited to finish with school and eventually practice without a cosigner!!!  I think it will initially be a little nerve racking that it's will be our own license on the line with everything that we do going forward!  Good luck with your journey as a therapist and thank you for the blog so that we can see that other PT students are going through the same emotions as we are!

Kristen March 19, 2015 10:58 AM

Congratulations, Lauren! It is an incredible accomplishment to begin and end such an extensive program/ degree.  I, like you, have recently completed my final clinical rotation and I am in the final stretch before graduating.  It is a nice thought that I will no longer have to have someone cosign or look over my shoulder.  This is going to be a huge transition, going from 7 years as a college student to having to search for and acquire a PT position.  I greatly look forward to this transition, but I will miss the friendships that I have made during my time in PT school.  It is a great feeling that you will have a network of friends and peers to correspond with as you make the steps into a career. Next on my agenda is preparing for the licensing exam in July. I appreciate your continued insight throughout your PT experience and wish you the best of luck.

Stacy April 29, 2014 9:46 AM

Congratulations, Lauren! I've been following this blog since you started and I am proud of you!

Jennifer, SPT April 22, 2014 9:15 AM

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