My Typical Day: Acute Care Affiliation

Wow, I haven’t posted in a while! I definitely needed some time off from my blog to focus on some other hobbies. Instead of writing, I started running more often and began playing tennis a few times a week with one of my classmates. I’m currently on a summer break from classes, so I have plenty of time to devote to writing!

I read through a similar post on Franish, who has blogged all throughout medical school. I know that copying ideas isn’t the most creative, but I enjoyed her posts so much that I wanted to create my own version for physical therapy school.

We had our first 6 week full-time affiliations during our winter semester, from January to mid-February. I was placed in an acute care setting, while others were in outpatient orthopedics or skilled nursing facilities. We were also in various locations, most of us spread throughout Maryland, but one classmate traveled as far as Virginia Beach.


I had my alarm set for 5:45, which wasn’t easy because it was still dark outside. I usually turned on my lamp and then closed my eyes for another fifteen minutes (bad habit, I know!)

I got the scented wax warmer as a gift (I think from Kohl’s), and I drew that picture of the frog in high school.

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Observation of Hip and Knee Replacement Surgeries

I’m so thankful that I was able to watch surgeries during my last clinical affiliation. I spent 6 weeks treating patients with various medical conditions, including those recovering from joint replacement surgeries. I learned so much by being in the OR, and was able to gain a much better understanding of what patients experience before they are evaluated by physical therapy.

I’ve included links to some Youtube videos of actual surgeries, so if you don’t want to see anything gruesome, I would recommend skipping the live surgery videos!

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Clinical Practicum (Fall Year 2): Day 5 and 6

Day 5

I learned about subacromial decompression, Thompson test for Achilles tendon tear, lateral walkouts with a theraband, and scapular retractions against a wall. I was able to ask the subjective questions during an evaluation, but I struggled with typing while listening to the patient. My CI suggested that I focus more on having a conversation, instead of focusing too much about what I have to ask next in the EMR.

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Clinical Practicum (Fall Year 2): Day 4

I’m still getting more and more comfortable with being in the clinic. I’m working on trying to learn as much as I can before my full time clinical affiliation this winter.

Today I learned about temporomandibular joint (TMJ) mobilizations. My CI had to put on a glove and insert her finger into the patient’s mouth in order to effectively mobilize the jaw. I believe the patient had a whiplash injury, so they had tight neck muscles and a decreased range of motion as well.

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Clinical Practicum (Fall Year 2): Day 1

This fall I am going to an outpatient orthopedic clinic about 6 times, for 8 hours a day. I go into the clinic every other week, so I have more free time during the weeks that I don’t go into clinic.

I learned a lot at practicum today, including Pallof presses and muscle energy techniques. My CI had me perform shoulder mobilizations, but we had just learned that in class 5 days ago so it was helpful to practice them on a patient.

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Clinical Practicum (Summer Year 1): Day 4

I had a different CI today, and we spent all of our time in the ICU and PCU. I loved that she took her time to go through the chart review and asked me questions about lab values. She asked me questions the entire day to test my knowledge and explained everything that I did not understand. It was a bit nerve-wracking to be questioned for 4 hours, and I did feel a little silly when I didn’t know things that we’ve talked about in class before. Continue reading

Clinical Practicum (Summer Year 1): Day 3

I had the same CI as last week. However, the first 3-4 patients that we checked on weren’t able to be seen, she had to wait to see 2 patients until the afternoon because their family members weren’t available, her pen stopped working, and she grabbed a pager but realized 3 hours later that the battery was dead. It seemed like everything kept going wrong for her, but I learned how important it is to be patient and flexibilewhen working in a hospital. Continue reading