Internship tips for PT students

I posted my acute care internship tips previously, which I learned when I was doing my internship at OHSU. After reading and retweeting a recent post on Kevin MD about tips for medical student rotations (which are great for PT students as well) I thought I would write a few additional notes to that end for PT internships, based on what I’ve learned as a co-CI and talking with both my wife who is an acute care PT and with my former ACCE who is a friend of ours.

Be engaged.  Just because you have a job lined up from one of your previous internships does not mean that you can coast. It is dangerous to your patients, your reputation, your school’s reputation (the facility might not take any future students from your alma mater based on your attitude and ethic), and can harm your internship.  This is your education, and while your future job is in an one setting, you can learn a lot from your other internships.

Show initiative.  You might not be ready for working with a complex patient independently, but ask to do something (evaluate a simple case, try a technique you learned in school for treatment, etc), or research recent evidence for treating [X] condition.  Be familiar with tomorrow’s new eval by doing a quick chart review and have a plan in mind.  If your CI can’t quite let go toward the end of your rotation, talk with him or her about it.

Take responsibility.  While it is the CI’s license, they are “your” patients.  Do a thorough chart review, be familiar with their condition(s) (and medications) and how it may affect or be affected by therapy.  This is your clinical education – be clear to your CI how you learn best, be open to (and request) feedback and be willing to give it. If you find your didactic education was lacking in a certain area, do whatever it takes to improve it.

Be professional.  Consider what you wear. Stand up for what is right – don’t be so eager to please that you violate company policy or federal/ state laws.  If you have questions, ask the CI, then the ACCE.

You are entering a great profession.  Make the best of all of your internships.


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