Great post from a fellow PT tumblr about the job search as a recent grad!
That’s annoying that they lead you on like that. Between you and your classmates, is it difficult to find a job as a new grad?
I should say that I haven’t been looking for jobs as hard as I could, what with illness and studying…
This week I filled out a list of the top 10 places I want to do my first Clinical Education Internship in November. The realization that it’s just around the corner is thrilling. Of course I’ll be excited to be on a work schedule with no homework at night, but I’m even more excited to learn. I’m realizing that I learn best from being able to see and do things, and not from memorizing my notes. Practicals are one of my best areas in school, and many of the things I’ve learned the best are things I’ve already seen on patients, and I haven’t even seen a patient since before I started school. I can’t wait to start putting the things I’ve learned together by seeing and using them with real patients, and I can only imagine how much I’ll learn in the process. I’ve probably never been so eager for November to come!
As a group, doctors dislike ambiguity. We pride ourselves in the scientific girders of modern medicine and are most comfortable when we are dispensing medical care to our patients that comes from a double-blind clinical trial, that fits into a validated clinical-prediction rule. But very little of medicine falls into that absolute category.
As we take classes on Evidence Based Practice and do our own research, I’m often struck by how little (quality) evidence is out there for many physical therapy treatments. It turns out this is true in medicine also, as the medical writer Danielle Ofri points out.
Today in modalities class we had a guest lecture on Dry Needling. It is similar to acupuncture, but based on physical therapy knowledge and can be used by PT’s in certain states alongside more traditional PT techniques. At the end of class we were given a brief lesson in how to Dry Needle and allowed to try it first on a banana, and then on ourselves. Since it is not legal for PT’s to Dry Needle in New York, and since it was only a short lecture and not a full course, we were not allowed to try it on our classmates the way we try everything else we learn. It was a bit bizarre to intentionally stick myself with a needle, but besides for a little soreness (from penetrating the muscle), it didn’t hurt.
The professors said it’s illegal in some states because acupuncturists lobbied to be the only ones who can use needles on patients in those states.
The short answer: it’s different for everyone, but typically more challenging and more time consuming than in undergrad.
Today was the first day of summer semester, the third and final semester of my first year of PT school. Although it’s only been 10 days since we ended a grueling spring semester, and this semester looks like it’s going to be about 14 weeks crammed into 8, and now I have to sit inside for 40 summer days, I was actually pretty excited. Despite waking up at 8am for eight hours of lecture, I was alert and attentive throughout it all.
This semester seems like the beginning of the next level of school. Whereas before our classes covered the basics of anatomy and therapeutic exercises, now it’s finally time to build. The foundations were definitely interesting, but it’s thrilling to begin learning things that can be directly applied to patients, such as soft tissue massage and modalities. I’m also eager to begin Orthopedics, since that is the area I plan on specializing in. It’s going to be a jam-packed eight weeks, but I can’t wait to get started!
1. Stay Organized. In college, my room was constantly covered in piles of papers and clothes. I did a big clean about once a semester, and spent the rest of the time climbing over piles. In grad school, I’ve switched gears. I keep handouts for each class hole-punched and divided into binders. When it’s time to study, I know exactly where my notes are and don’t need to waste time finding everything. But it’s extended past my school supplies. I’ve found that I study better when my surroundings are in order, so rather than frantically cleaning each time I invited a friend over, I kept up with it, cleaning a little bit each week. That meant my apartment was constantly dusted and orderly, so even though I spent a few minutes cleaning every few days, I felt better afterward when it came time to study on the couch.
2. Get advised. I this mentioned last semester, but I can’t stress this point enough. After a few of my midterm grades were lower than I would have liked, I met with almost every professor I had. I met with the ones whose tests had given me trouble to get advice on how to proceed. But I also met with professors in whose class I had done well to see what I was doing right. This helped give me the confidence boost I needed going forward. It paid off extremely well; as I saw my final grades rise in each class.
3. Study with friends. I knew last semester that I needed more group study time, but hadn’t yet put this into action. I ended up finding two friends with whom I study extremely well. Even if we don’t always know the material perfectly by the time we get together, the sessions are always helpful. Talking the material over forced me to deepen my understanding of it, and I was always reminded of at least one detail that hadn’t made it into my notes.
4. Stay busy. This is another idea I mentioned previously. I realized how important it was first semester to continue going to the gym and begin learning aerial yoga. But in addition to staying physically active, it’s also important to staying socially active to combat the stress of school. Whereas in the fall, I often told my college friends I was too busy to hang out, I made more time for them this spring. And I found that similar to going to the gym, scheduling in these social breaks made me more efficient in the time I did give myself to do work, and also made me happier after. This carried over into my studying, motivating me to work harder.
All of these tips helped set me up to study and learn even better than I had previously. While I knew I would succeed, these methods often gave me the extra oomph I needed to continue. And although I don’t know my final grades yet, I know that I did very well this semester and made some improvements over the fall. More importantly, I realize how much I’ve learned. Between noticing gait deviations as I walk down the street, and being able to advise a relative on how to treat a cut, the material I’ve studied is permeating every aspect of my life. Next week, I begin eight weeks of summer semester, and then I’ll finally be done with my first year!
That’s not creepy at all, thanks so much for following me both here and on Twitter. Good luck in your pre-PT school journey and let me know if you have any questions along the way!
Is it possible to ask some of the places where you’ve already interviewed if there is anything you can improve on for next time? Maybe to gain some PT experience, you can try volunteering or shadowing a PT at a local hospital first. From my experience, a PT Aide should know a bit about the body and physical therapy, and be open to learning more. An Aide should be responsible, and able to multi-task and take criticism. And an Aide should have good people skills to be able to work well with both fellow employees and patients. Good luck in the search!