I was looking at some old textbooks for PT, Sports Injuries, etc. earlier today and I noticed that the patient in the picture is almost always topless. So I was just wondering if most programs have the students dress down to barechests (bikinis for the ladies, I guess) for lab.
Joined: August 25, 2000
For men, they have to take off their shirts. For women, they can wear bikini tops or a sports bra. Shorts for both. There are palpation/manual skiils that can only be learned with the hands touching the body.
Joined: March 1, 2004
I am friends with a German trained Physical Therapist and she told me that both the men and women had to go topless during lab. Kind of weird, but most the European countries are not as freaked out about nakedness as Americans.
Joined: July 23, 2005
As jma said, Women usually wear sportsbras and men are shirtless. In PT, we have to observe, examine, evaluate by palpating a lot of things, especially the spine, scapula, hips, etc, and the muscles associated with them. Also, we have to auscultate the lungs and heart so it is very important to have direct skin contact to be accurate. As always, you have to be sensitive to your patient's comfort level, religious beliefs, etc and plan accordingly. In PT school, it's important to become comfy with this concept because it is pertinent to the curriculum and enhances learning and observational skills.
i've got steroid-induced gyno. i guess i'll have to find another line of work till i can afford surgery (not covered by insurance b/c considered cosmetic surgery; plus i'm a full time student which means limited funds) and then apply and attend later pt school later. :(
Joined: May 9, 2004
From: West Palm Beach
If you are uncomfortable in your own skin, how do you think patients feel, ones with cultural values that do not allow them to disrobe, or people who are so heavy that they cannot bath easily and have caked on dirt, strange birth marks, etc etc etc, No one will remember what you look like with your top off, as a PT, you need to leave humility at the door, b/c frequently you are treating patients who you are indirectly asking to leave humility and dignity at the door...get over it, seek some counseling perhaps, but do not allow taking your shirt off to affect your desire to be in this profession.
Joined: March 29, 2005
During most of PT school, I was pretty much obese (OK I was very fat). Although I felt uncomfortable at first, I don't think I was anymore uncomfortable than most of my classmates about disrobing. You get over it very quickly, because you're not there to judge one another, but to learn.
Joined: January 8, 2004
From: Los Angeles area
And remember that it is the differences in classmates' bodies that actually assists in learning how to feel different things and perform techniques on patients. If every PT student had a perfect "hard-body", sure you could palpate every muscle and bone easily, but that's not your patient population. When you got to your clinic you'd be lost becuase you wouldn't know how to find things on a more "real" body. The mental aspect of what it feels like to be a little exposed also does help you think about how your patien'ts will be uncomfortable, too. Please don't not go to PT school because you are uncomfortable with your body. You will find that PTs and PT students are very open-minded and friendly people and will not judge you for something like that. Seriously, once you actually are in class you will know your classsmates so well it won't even be an issue. They will already be your friends.
tsbj, seriously, a condition like this would not be an obstacle to being part of a PT class. It could be a learning experience for everyone. You'd be an asset. It wouldn't be a distraction. If there were anyone in a PT class insensitive enough to let this be a distraction for them, they should have never been selected to be a PT student. Don't let something this superficial and petty interfere with your whole future. Be bigger than a minor cosmetic issue such as this, and expect no less from your future classmates.
Joined: April 20, 2005
Trust me, you're going to see some funky stuff both in the lab and the clinic. I can honestly say that nothing on anyone's body has made me flinch or look twice since 1st semester of grad school. After about a week, it won't phase anyone in the class
I often have to remind myself to respect patient's personal space because I am so used to the body. I'll catch myself going right for the piriformis before I remind myself to make the patient aware that I need to "touch their bottom".
I think you would regret the decision to hold-off on school because of your perceived physical imperfection.
Joined: January 8, 2004
From: Los Angeles area
yes, I still agree with my previous post and those of the ones above. You will be able to teach your classmates something just like each of their "problems" will teach you something. You will learn what types of imperfections everyone else is hiding under their clothes as well!! PTs really just see the body as the body. Good luck to you.