I am a student fulfilling my pre reqs to get into PT school. Many schools ask you to get so many hours in different PT settings. I know that they want the exposure to the profession and the different types, but are they mainly looking at how many hours you put in or what exactly do they expect you to accomplish while you are there? Should I be paying close attention to specific things during my experience?
Joined: December 22, 2007
It's a good idea to get exposure to multiple settings vs tons of hours in one. I suppose many programs may differ on this however. You may want to contact the director of admissions at the specific program you are applying and go from there. Good luck.
Joined: August 25, 2000
The number of hours you observe at facilities is just one of the things they look at. Basically, if you only need a minimum of 50 hours in 3 to 5 different PT facilities and thats all you do, they can see the time committment you gave you over someone who did over 150 hours, if it was just numbers they were interested in. Many of the forms that have to be filled out have what you are asking. Two examples of this are levels of emotional stability and maturity. For example, they could be observing how you react to patients who might be in distress from surgery and being put through the rehabilitation process. Are you watching them or do you find something else to do while treatment is being done. Another is how you express yourself to the therapists or to the patients they treat. Constantly making jokes or talking about other topics not related to PT, can leave an impression that you are not interested in physical therapy . You can find examples of recommendation forms that would have to be filled out from many of the PT programs. Hope this gives you an idea of what they look at.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. The information is helpful and I appreciate it. I have been looking at the sites more closely and found that some have their different forms and such.
I just started at a couple places doing about 6-8 hours a week in each. They are both private clinics, one of which is focused on Geriatric PT and the other with focus on sports related injuries, but they both do other types of rehab/therapy as well. I also want to get in a hospital inpatient setting (maybe post surgery, amuputee, etc.) and/or a long-term care facility in the fall. Do you recommend certain types of places? Where I could get more experience and learn a lot more?
Joined: August 25, 2000
If you are looking into post surgeries, then an acute care hospital is the place to. Chances are that they may have a rehab department that sees patients after they have been through the acute care phase that are not quite ready to be discharged. Depending where you reside you may find hospitals that have their own outpatient facility inhouse or as a nearby satellite facility. An example is where I work, that has PT's working in acute care, rehab, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord, cardiac rehab, outpatient facility, stroke unit. I recommend this over a long term care facility because you get more variety.
Joined: November 8, 2007
I was required to do 80 hours which I recently completed. My settings were: 2 days at a SNF 3 days at a private clinic w/certified McKenzie therapists 1 day on the ortho floor of a community hospital 4 days at a private clinic
I asked questions when appropriate, making sure to not interfere with patient care. I volunteered or was asked to adjust equipment, retrieve or put away ice packs, play catch with a client, etc. Occasionally the PhyTher quizzed me on something.
Show interest, ask questions, and help as much as possible without getting in the way.
Joined: March 15, 2006
I think the main reason they require observation hours is to make sure that you know what you are getting into.
I had a classmate who had all of the credentials so got into PT school (1989) and quit 8 weeks into it. That's tough when 300 people were rejected and she got in. Messes up lab classes for 2-3 years (someone doesn't have a partner) and screws those 300 people. (BTW they were able to fill the spot with someone with a strong anatomy and physiology background so no lab problems)