Gains hands on experience in their field through internships, co-ops, other avenues.
Rosana Abeyta-Torres talks about her experience interning at Dameron in physical therapy.
My name is Rosana Abeyta-Torres. I am in my third year at Pacific studying Sports Medicine. I aspire to become a physical therapist and will be applying to physical therapy graduate schools in the fall. Last semester I had the opportunity to observe in the outpatient and inpatient physical therapy at Dameron Hospital as part of the course Clinician in Sports Medicine (SPTS 157). I completed 35.5 hours in the outpatient clinic and 70 hours in the acute care inpatient setting in the hospital. I experienced the different aspects of physical therapy and saw a variety of cases in both settings. I also observed some occupational therapy. I was able to experience and analyze the differences between inpatient and outpatient physical therapy care and treatment. I shadowed the physical therapists and physical therapist assistants as they performed evaluations or routine physical therapy sessions. They would explain to me what they were doing, and taught me several things. I was limited to merely observing the therapists since I'm only an undergraduate without a degree or much training. However, after awhile I was able to perform ultrasound and place the electrical stimulation on some of the patients in the outpatient clinic.
I saw more severe cases in the hospital than in the outpatient clinic. I got to experience therapy for patients in ICU and CCU. I learned the differences in therapy techniques and how the goals differ for each setting. After observing in both settings I realized that I prefer outpatient physical therapy and want to work in an outpatient clinic if possible. With inpatient physical therapy you only see the patient for a couple of days usually, and the main goal is to improve functionality so they can leave the hospital and return home or go to a skilled nursing facility. For some patients it is a big improvement just to be able to sit on the edge of the bed. Whereas, with outpatient you would normally see the patient for at least 4-6 weeks, and therefore can have more long terms goals. I like this setting better because you have more of a chance of actually helping the patient progress from the beginning until hopefully resolution of symptoms. Part of the reason why I initially decided to go into physical therapy was because I like the idea of helping people through physical activity, and I think it would be more rewarding for me if I were able to see the patient progress throughout the whole treatment program rather than just get them ready to be sent home or to a rehabilitation facility. I enjoyed observing in both settings, and after observing for two and a half months, I have refined my career preferences and have a new insight into the profession.