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Transition to Rehab Management

Fall Semester Done

Published November 8, 2012 2:12 PM by Karen Schiff

After much sweat and tears this past semester, I've finally managed to finish my three online classes for my DPT with a month to spare. It was perhaps the most challenging semester so far, with a class titled "Direct Access." Having worked 20-plus years for healthcare systems, I was quite comfortable with seeing patients who were required by policy to bring a prescription from their physician. I didn't have much discussion with my peers as well, as we were all working mothers (when females dominated the field at a much higher rate), raising families and keeping a household.

Having been a single mom for more than four years, raising two teenage girls singlehandedly and looking forward to a fantastic career as a DPT, I've learned this semester that our future is brighter than ever. We are the practitioners of choice when it comes to musculoskeletal dysfunction, and we have the knowledge to screen patients for referral, if necessary, to the appropriate provider.

Perhaps I found this course to be most challenging because I wasn't familiar with it. For now, I'll share the wealth of information learned to empower other therapists to comfortably contact physicians if there is something of concern. Specifically, to discuss movement-impairment diagnoses, as we're able to do, and request a physician of medicine to investigate his area of expertise. Learning how to do this tactfully and not interfere with medical diagnosing will be the challenge, as physicians may be standoffish. I can be optimistic, though, and expect that we can accomplish this goal and enhance our future with the skills we've learned while working so hard on our education.

I may seem a bit "behind" in understanding what direct access is, but at least now I've learned the basic idea. Additionally, with projects such as writing a referral to a physician from a doctor of PT, writing a response to a consumer's question regarding a health concern she has and what physical therapy can do for her, as well as interpreting the lyrics of a song and how they relate to the history of the DPT, I know our future is full of promise and autonomy. Thank you, Dr. DuVall, for all you've shown me and I look forward to contributing to our profession's vision.

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