As part of the rigorous Doctorate of Physical Therapy curriculum, physical therapy students are required to complete 3-5 clinical internships at various clinics, hospitals, nursing homes and other rehabilitation centers for 6-12 weeks in each setting. Students are assigned to a clinical instructor/preceptor (“CI” for short) who serves as a mentor during their clinical rotation. PT students are expected to learn things quickly and apply their knowledge, despite having little clinical experience. CIs ease the transition from learning in the classroom to working in the “real world”.
However, taking on a PT student is no easy task especially with the fast-paced environments and productivity standards that are so common these days. CIs assist students with patient care, documentation and development of hands-on techniques as well as other interpersonal skills. There is a fine balance between instructing the student and still getting all the necessary work done. Despite the longer hours and time CIs give to their students, their efforts often do not receive the recognition they deserve. So here’s a thank you to clinical instructors and patients alike.
First, thank you to all the clinical instructors for offering their time and skills. Your guidance and clinical expertise are invaluable. Thank you for stepping back and letting us problem-solve and work our way through clinical situations, while still knowing when to jump in and provide assistance. Thank you for remembering how it felt to be a student, but also for challenging us to become better clinicians. We appreciate how you continually show patience with answering our questions. Know that what you do shapes us as individuals and makes an impact on how we interact and treat patients. Lastly, thank you for giving back to the profession and guiding the next generation of physical therapists!
As for the patients, thank you for letting us be a part of your journey! You open up your lives to us, you share your doubts and worries, as well as your hopes and successes. You challenge us, laugh with us, and sometimes even cry with us. You are there to provide encouragement, even when we doubt or second guess ourselves. We can count on you to provide good life advice, whether on marriage, jobs, kids or retirement. You are a reminder of why we chose this profession. Know that we are rooting for you every step of the way, even when we push you to do 5 more repetitions of an exercise! Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work together to gain a greater appreciation of the delicate intricacies of the body, mind and experiences that make us human.
Thanks and best of luck to all of you!
The PT Student
Aleksi Moran, ATC/R, SPT
University of Minnesota
Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program
Class of 2017
Thank You Letter: Perspective From a PT Student