What are some things students should work on during clinical rotations? For starters, let me give you some insight on some of the feedback I’ve gotten while doing evaluations this week.
First off, if a patient is being seen by another professional, it’s important to dig just a little deeper and figure out what they’re doing. “Ok, so you’re also seeing a chiropractor….What are they also doing to help treat you?”. It’s good to keep this in mind so you know exactly what’s going on with your patient.
Second, positioning and planning can be something taken for granted, unless you’re actually the patient with pain in a certain position. Maybe that patient has pain lying on their back, how else could you test their hip strength? Also, if you’re testing their ability to perform a sit to stand transfer, how high the table is set might just affect how they perform it.
Third, how you explain your findings depends on the body part and condition. It may be more valuable to tell a patient with a neck injury, “Your cervical rotation range of motion is at about 30 degrees. We want to get you closer towards 70,” than to tell a person with a postsurgical rotator cuff tear “Your shoulder is limited to about 90 degrees of flexion, we want to get it closer to 160 degrees.” They already know they that they want to increase it.
And last but not least, there’s always feedback for documentation. When PT’s document, they write a list of goals they hope their patient can reach. Here’s some examples to give you an idea.
I’ve learned to avoid being too redundant with writing my long-term and short-term goals (not writing the same goal for both, but changing the time frame). It’s always important to think about why this patient is coming to PT, and not anywhere else. What can we do as a profession to help them? There’s always room for improvement!
–Nikole Nelson, Student PT from UCF