Is a Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree Worth It? If you’re dreaming about helping patients restore their mobility and quality of life, and you’re exploring what it would take to become a physical therapist, you may be wondering, “Is a degree in physical therapy worth it?” The answer to this question depends, of course, on your personal career goals. Some people choose to become physical therapist assistants because only a two-year associate degree is required. It’s true that pursuing a doctorate takes time and effort; however, there are countless advantages to earning a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. To that end, let’s look at some of the factors that make a Doctor in Physical Therapy (DPT) degree the best first step on an exceptional career Read more
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Master of Occupational Therapy and Doctor of Occupational Therapy students at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences St. Augustine campus were completing their level II fieldwork rotations.
“These fieldwork experiences provide a bridge between academics and clinical practice,” Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and OT instructor Dr. Patricia Palomar, OTD, OTR/L, ATAC explained. Level IIA and IIB fieldwork rotations are completed after students complete their didactic coursework.
Students create a project as part of their fieldwork rotation, many times the project will fill a need for the site where the rotation is being completed, improve intervention options and/or educate clients.
“While there were many projects to choose from, these exemplify OT’s philosophy of assisting people to become more independent in what they need and want to do in their daily activities,” Dr. Palomar said.
It is important to recognize the creative problem-solving and clinical reasoning skills students showcased in their projects. Their ideas help current and future clients of each site do more of what they want and need to do to live their fullest lives.
Kayla Wilcoxson created two projects for her IIA rotation at Occuplay, a pediatric clinic in Ponte Vedra, FL. She calls her first project a “flower garden.” The children use fine motor coordination and visual-motor skills to string various pieces together to create “flowers” and then plant them in the garden. For her second project, she made fluorescent light covers with material and her sewing machine to decrease the negative effects of the lights for children with sensory processing issues.
Eric Pegarido created a pressure feedback glove on his IIA for a client with polyneuropathy at Signature Healthcare of Brookwood Gardens in Homestead, FL. He used conductive thread, a motherboard, lights, and a battery pack. He is looking forward to pursuing a patent for his idea!
Sarah Roark, completing her IIB at Great Strides Rehabilitation in Jacksonville, FL, created a fine motor board to provide a new intervention for patients who have difficulty opening lids in their homes. “I came up with an idea to put multiple types of items with different common types of lids.”
Corey Jackson’s Functional Box was developed for the OT clients at Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson, MS, who needed more functional interventions for clients who had a stroke. Providing Corey with the locks and fasteners proved to be a therapeutic intervention for the owner of the hardware store. He was suffering from grief and depression after the loss of his wife and life partner. Corey dedicated the box to Jan Ross, the wife of the hardware store owner. Mr. Ross has given Corey permission to share his story.
During Kelli Bride’s fieldwork rotation at Good Shepherd Rehab Hospital in Allentown, PA, she had the privilege of working with patients who had sustained a spinal cord injury. She noticed that they had problems with sitting balance, which compromised their abilities to transfer. She made this Sitting Balance Board with handles on each side. As the client sits on it, he or she can hold the handles on the sides (if able) to provide more security. This board is used with constant supervision of the client.
Dayna Barnhart noticed that clients were lacking motivation with their therapy goals at AdventHealth in Daytona Beach, FL. After researching the topic, she made Weekly Goals sheet for each client to have them make their own goals. This process, with weekly review, increased their engagement in therapy and their motivation.
Taylor DuPriest observed that many of the interventions used on her rotation at Crisp Regional Rehab in Cordele, GA did not require the client to cross the midline of their body or to use bilateral motor coordination. She created a Group Therapy Activities Manual with activities to involve the clients’ whole body. Here is one picture of the Connect Four game that she made.
Aaron Realista’s fieldwork rotation was at an outpatient pediatric clinic, Cutting Edge Pediatric Therapy, in Katy, TX. Many of the children he worked with had sensory processing issues. The clinic held an evening filled with sensory-based activities. One of his creations is this Sensory Maze, requiring each child to walk through the streamers to get to the therapy rooms.
Emily Lenhart worked with clients who had difficulty with dressing fasteners at Achieve Pediatric Therapy in Orlando, FL. She used embroidery hoops to help them learn how to button, zip, and tie. She also developed a handout for the teachers with sensory strategies and attention strategies for the classroom. This is the first page.
During Erin Scanlon’s Level II rotation at White Oak PT and Hand Rehab. In Silver Spring, MD, she had a client with wrist pain and limited range of motion that did not fit the diagnosis. She performed the Watsons Scaphoid Shift Test with her educator and found that he had carpal instability. They concluded he had Scapholunate Dissociation syndrome. She created a home program for self-mobilization. After eight therapy sessions, pain decreased from “5” to “2” and wrist range of motion increased.
Rachel Moreno’s explores the evidence behind the use of alternative pain-relieving techniques. She shares how the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs uses Battlefield Acupuncture (BFA) to alleviate pain without the use of addictive medications while working at the VA Medical Center in Lake City, FL.
Kristen Kinker took part in an adaptive surfing project for her IIA rotation at Play for Real Therapy Services in Rockledge, FL. Using pre- and post-tests, she found that there was a significant increase in bilateral grip strength, upper body strength, core strength, and cardiorespiratory endurance. There were also improvements in social skills and mental health. Here is a picture of Kristen and one of her students.
Daniel Mattison developed and implemented a group intervention for his clients with Parkinson’s at Northern Arizona Healthcare in Cottonwood, AZ. The project was carried out in conjunction with PT and Speech. It provided the outpatients with safe flexibility and stretching movements for gross and fine motor skills. He gathered pre-intervention objective measurements using the box and block, handwriting, 9-hole peg, BITS training, dressing test, grip/pinch tests, and functional reach tests for each person. After 10 days, he took post-intervention measurements and found significant improvements. Here is a picture of one of his 100-page intervention book that he turned into the fieldwork site.
Mariana Mastriano worked with other students and staff to create a Pain Cart at Flowers Hospital in Dothan, AL. This cart provided a variety of alternative activities to help patients with their pain. Here is the menu of the resources available on the clients’ Pain Cart:
Jenn Reilly created a patient education tool for those with flexor tendon injuries and scarring. She found that this visual representation of the flexor tendons assisted the clients in comprehension of the issues and the reasons for certain interventions. She completed her IIA rotation at Optim Healthcare in Savannah, GA.
Kristen Valenti created an activity board to help children with autism improve their independence in ADLs at Manatee Memorial Hospital in Bradenton, FL.
Cheryl Fong created a 100-page binder of scavenger hunts for common kitchen items for the OT department at Majestic Oaks at John Knox Village of Central Florida in Orange City, FL. The activities promote visual scanning, sequencing, problem solving, safe functional mobility, functional reach, standing balance, fine and gross motor coordination for her clients. She used both cues for a specific task and abstract hunts for items. She could grade the activity dependent upon the client’s cognition. For example, a cue might be, “What would you need to make a green bean casserole?”
Margaret Rowan created a presentation on Mirror Therapy for the OT and PT departments during her IIB rotation at Brooks Rehab. Hospital, Jacksonville, FL. She found that using mirror therapy promotes the activation of affected limbs for her clients with CVAs.
Morgan West created a brochure on aquatic therapy for her site, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, St. Petersburg, FL. The therapists use this intervention with the clients, who are children with cerebral palsy.
Megan Grace created an in-service on SCI Education on Intimate Topics. The in-service is leading towards a poster presentation for her state association’s annual conference. Here is a snippet from her in-service completed at Penn State Hershey Rehabilitation Hospital, Hummelstown, PA.
Beth Allen modified the chips used for bingo for clients at Encompass Health in Largo, FL, who have difficulty picking things up. She also laminated the bingo cards for those who may have difficulty with oral-motor control.
Congratulations to all the OT students who were able to contribute to their fieldwork sites. USAHS is proud to celebrate you this OT Month.
“It is a privilege to share these incredible projects created by some of our fieldwork students,” Dr. Palomar said.
How are you celebrating OT Month? Contact writer Taylor Clayton ([email protected]) if you would like to be included in future OT Month stories.