Updated: Feb 27, 2021
As I sat at my desktop, slowly navigating through an unfamiliar EMR I overhead someone say "acute care [PT] is easy." Maybe that is the case for a 30-year employee of the hospital, but I can assure you that thought didn't cross my during this first week of clinical.
From the patient's medical status to their mental status, their safety to their strength, their goals to their (occasional) grumpiness - my first week of clinical gave me the opportunity to see so many aspects of patient care and rehabilitation. My CI has been a huge asset this week & I am thankful for his patience with me and for answering my questions.
I knew I was really going to enjoy the setting due to its inter-professional nature and diversity of patients. This week I spent the majority of my time in the oncology units, did post-op care on the gastroenterology floor and took one trip to the ER! I was able to complete chart reviews through hundreds of documents, personalize care to fit pt's multi-system needs, and consider discharge recommendations based on current and past level of function.
This is all to say: is acute care easy?
For the service we provide to be "skilled" could we really call it easy? As a student on her first inpatient clinical, I was seeing cases that read like the final in Dr. Mandel's Rehabilitation of the Complex Patient class, if not more complex! Are standard, cookie cutter exercises going to improve that pt's level of function and provide them with the tools they need to rehabilitate after major surgeries or life altering diagnoses?
I recognize that a lot of my passion for this setting comes from the classes and professors at UMiami. We were reminded constantly that we need to be more than patient-walkers. I don't want this rotation to be easy - I want to be challenged and to challenge myself. I am an overzealous student with big eyes wanting to take in and get the most out of this experience. I want to spend time with patients and help them understand how movement is medicine. I hope to show both patients, nurses and physicians how capable physical therapists are at providing quality, skilled care. But, I do hope that documentation and chart reviews get easier!!