Pulling It All Together
As my quest for a doctoral degree progresses, I find myself looking at the art of physical therapy in a different light. Initially, not knowing what to expect or what I needed to brush up on was high up on my fear list, not to mention having to keep an average of at least an "80" to pass. At least I could achieve a "C" more than 20 years ago in PT school. Thankfully, I have excellent resources around me to discuss any issues I may have while I move ahead in this transitional DPT program, and even a shoulder to cry on if need be.
Advanced Human Anatomy. This course actually made sense! This is the meat and potatoes of our practice. What I realized from this course is that I actually retained some of what I learned many years ago. The difference was that I absorbed more information from this course, because of the good baseline knowledge and practicing it for years. That was the "ice breaker."
Then came Evidence-Based Practice. Wow. I never even heard of this until recently, from students coming to the clinic. Quite a challenging class, but at least now I can understand and interpret studies done to further our profession (and consider doing this myself in the future). These classes were a perfect opening to studying The Guide to Physical Therapy, and now Pharmacology and Differential Diagnosis. Each semester is bringing more information, education and excitement to practice.
I find myself rationalizing with case managers and insurance companies why a number of visits are necessary for a particular diagnosis (The Guide). I have discussed treatment strategies/alternatives with physicians and an ARNP (based on evidence-based practice). I have reviewed medications and dosage of each with patients and discussed possible interaction and effect on their physical therapy treatment (pharmacology).
I have been called to assist a speech therapist whose patient was having epigastric pain that was annoying him all day, unchanged with position, to decide whether to call 911 or the primary physician (differential diagnosis). I am actually pulling it all together now, extremely pleased with the decision to pursue a graduate degree. This is all very possible, and strongly encouraged to recharge a therapist's inner drive. As my most inspiring mentor says in reference to studying for a doctoral degree in physical therapy, "It teaches you what you don't really know," and it makes me understand how to pull it all together.