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June 23, 2013

Professional Issues Class Post: Other Professions

Think about your medical externship(s) and the personnel with whom you interacted while you were there. Besides your supervisor, from which profession do you feel you learned the most and why (and how)?  What, if anything, did you learn about our profession while you were there and most importantly, what did you learn about yourself?  

I had the great fortune to complete my medical rotation as a student clinician with Kindred Big Springs Transitional Facility (and Rehabcare) in Huntsville, AL.  What an experience it was! I felt that I was learning something new every day I was there--from my supervisor to the related staff, my education was growing with every interaction! I was very nervous to begin this externship, but once I got the opportunity to jump in and get my feet wet, it was one of the more pleasurable externships that I've encountered.

While I was involved with Kindred, I had the great opportunity to interact and shadow various physical therapists (PTs) and occupational therapists (OTs).  There were several instances where the speech-langugae services would co-treat with others, such as PT or OT and those moments felt like magic!  It was so informative to see each professional bring to the table their knowledge and collaborate on how best to serve the needs of the patient they were co-treating at the time.  To keep things confidential, my interaction with a certain OT I will name "P" were some of the most informative moments of my externship! Even though my scope of practice involved other methods and focuses, watching P work her magic on a client to better position them for easier feeding or similar was something that I found to be really informative.  She patiently and skillfully described what she was doing, why she was doing, and what she was looking for, in terms of an end result--what an educational format for shared learning!

I feel that I equally learned the same amounts of information from both the OT and PT team since our weekly meetings were focused on sharing resources and knowledge with one another--something I found to be incredibly helpful to me as a student clinician.  I really marveled at skilled professionals who were able to take a step back from the bigger picture and admit "Hey, I am not quite sure what to make of this..." or "I'm not quite sure of what direction to head for my next session," and that really made an impression on me.  Not only does the learning continue well after formal education ends, but sometimes even a skilled and knowledgable clinician can admit to him/herself and the team that they need aid in finding the right future direction without worrying about ego.  This type of open-learning and sharing format was something that I felt made this facility a successful team.

I like to think that someday I will be in a position where I am comfortable and able to take on a new student clinician, like someone who is in my shoes currently, and offer them the same learning opportunities like I was given at Kindred.  I will definitely remember the format of sharing the how's, why's, and what's of how I am approaching clinical practices, since those key elements are what make up the core content for how things are done a certain way.  In this way, I hope to facilitate the education of future clinicians for our profession, just as I have been nurtured in my own experiences!

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