The last three months (January 3 - March 25), I've had the opportunity to do my first 3-month fieldwork/clinical rotation/affiliation/internship/whatever you want to call it, at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Fontana. When I first started, I found myself running around the hospital like a chicken with it's head cut off, lost, and completely overwhelmed. I knew that it was my turn at a physical-disability, acute inpatient setting, but I was not prepared to see patients in so much pain, nauseous, weak, unmotivated, unresponsive, tubes and lines coming from every direction, hooked up to ventilators, bariatric, you name it. Every morning dreaded the drive over to the hospital and what the day ahead would hold. I felt so inadequate, couldn't understand a diagnosis, unable to comfortably talk to patients, be therapeutic, or chart fast enough. To top it off, I didn't have the best of CI's (clinical instructors) out there, mine had gone to school in another country and had a completely different mentality than those who studied in the US. I had to learn quickly in such a fast paced environment. I was lucky to have 2 other PT students doing their affiliation there too, and co-treating with them helped me get through the 12 weeks. Also what helped me get through was knowing that once the day was done and we were finished seeing patients and charting on them, I could leave everything behind and enjoy the rest of my day. After a lot of quick thinking on my feet, ROM & MMT tests, contact guard isolations, screaming patients, confused patients, coding patients, toilet transfers and poop trails, seeing private parts, lifting patients twice my size, and as much as I hate hospitals, I was able to survive those 12 weeks and pass my fieldwork experience! The therapy office encouraged me to apply for a position after I graduate, I probably won't, but it's nice to know that working in a hospital is now totally doable.
I'm now back in the classroom finishing up my last 9 months of classes/research/project development. I'll miss having free evenings, but at least I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel, it's coming.
One thing I must say I enjoyed about KP is the way they encourage healthy living. I always took the stairs up to the OT/PT Rehab office on the 4th floor, and each level in the stairway had an interesting saying/phrase painted on the wall. I'll leave you with a few that I remembered:
"It is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigor."
"Your body is a temple, but only if you treat it as one."
"Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live."
"Live well. Be well."
"Your health is our biggest cause."
"We could all use more hugs and kisses."
"Live healthy, eat right, pray hard."
There are probably a lot more, but I only took that one stairway...