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Striving to Be a DPT

Semester Three of Nine

Published January 13, 2015 5:36 PM by Jocelyn Wallace

This past Monday was the start of my third semester of physical therapy school. My classes include Clinical Practicum 1, Cardiopulmonary PT, Intro to Research Methods and Data Analysis, Gerontology, Neuroanatomy, Healthcare Educator and Clinical Skills 2. Seems like a lot, right? Well so far it doesn't seem so bad! The schedule is not nearly as heavy on exams as last semester and we will be doing a lot of group work.

Another change this semester is that some of the classes only last for a number of weeks. Gerontology, for example, is over in 6 weeks and consists of mostly guest lectures, assignments and a take-home final exam. It also seems like we're going to have a lot more lab experience this time around, with Clinical Skills 2 and Cardiopulmonary being very lab-intensive.

The thing I'm most looking forward to is Clinical Practicum 1. This is not a class, per se, but a series of experiences. We do a few days of orientation on things like documentation and skills review, but otherwise the course consists of four full-day experiences in different PT settings. I get to visit two SNFs, one acute-care setting and the sports medicine clinic on campus, where I've been before.

In 4 short months, I'll be just about halfway done with the didactic portion of the curriculum! I'm very excited to start getting more hands-on experience and really begin to see where my interests lie within physical therapy. I'm certain that I'll have tons of lessons to learn and share on this blog during the semester.

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Hi Jocelyn,

Thanks for your blog post. It's really interesting to hear about your program and your experiences thus far. I also started PT school 8 months ago, so I understand a lot of what you are doing. While many aspects of our programs sound similar, many more sound different. For example, our coursework this semester is entirely different. Right now I am enrolled in biomechanics, introduction to patient care 2, motor control, and principles of electrotherapy. The courses are all difficult, but it's neat to start to see how everything that I have been learning is beginning to relate to one another. I also have my clinical affiliation at the end of the semester. Our semester ends on March 20, and on March 23 I will begin a 6-week rotation at an outpatient facility. I will spend the entire 6 weeks at the same facility. Later in my quest to become a DPT, I will have the opportunity to experience other settings. Good luck this semester, and I look forward to reading more about your experience as you strive to be a DPT! Best wishes!

Christina Weber January 20, 2015 8:20 PM
Greenville NC

Hi Jocelyn,

We also just started our third semester of PT school and have similar course work as you might imagine.  Group work is definitely a key ingredient in our program as well.  I feel that this so crucial considering how much collaboration and team work will be required in our profession.  

We will also be starting our first clinical rotations this semester and I am so excited.  It will be so nice to get to have more hands on experiences, truly seeing what we are learning about in the classroom put into action.  I too am excited to see where my passions lie as far as which type of therapy I am most interested in.  I think one of the only ways to figure this out is getting out there to experience it! Best of luck to you in the new semester.  

Catherine Duncan January 15, 2015 6:41 PM
Greenville NC

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