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Transition to Rehab Management

Continuing Education

Published June 14, 2012 11:19 AM by Karen Schiff

As I put the final touches on the final examinations of my two summer classes, I realize that I still have another two weeks available, if needed, to turn in the required course work. I'm not sure how that happened, having listened to almost all lectures and answered most questions already, and at the same time having managed to play tennis just about every morning before work. Summertime has always been one of our favorite seasons in my house, so taking off an extra day every other week as a "stay-cation" has allowed my girls and I some downtime together. Summer fun planning is in progress, and we are looking forward to go-karting today, as well as spending a day at a water park to celebrate Father's Day with a close friend and his sons.

A last-minute continuing education class last night certainly brought to my attention the different perspectives on manual therapy, manipulative therapy or mechanical exercise technique. Just when I thought I understood the basics in regard to manual therapy, I learned there are many schools of thought when it comes to the basic principles, but all are in agreement when considering what should be the final outcome. There was also a discussion about the "placebo effect," where suggesting to patients upon their first visit that we can potentially alleviate their symptoms has such a positive impact on outcomes compared to patients who are not told this. Study after study demonstrated this phenomenon, and brought to my mind as a health care professional how important it is to educate and provide realistic expectations to the patient.

In addition, patients have to "buy into" what we are educating them about. This is something I think many of us do well; however, I wonder how often we assess the effectiveness of the therapy we are providing and change the plan if there is not a positive change. Sitting in a classroom of DPT students makes me wonder how much these kids are absorbing, hoping that they will take this information with them as they make their way into the professional environment. I certainly don't think I would've understood this information when I was enrolled in a bachelor's degree program many years ago. Kudos to these kids who were able to absorb and assimilate the lecture material presented last night.

With all that is going on in this hectic life, I am beginning to realize that studying for my DPT is changing the way I think about information I am presented with. Perhaps attending more continuing education that uses evidence-based, best practice information is assisting with this transition. The carryover to the way I practice PT is evident as well. This way of thinking is certainly going to help me help my patients, or refer them to another provider if nothing else.


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