Physical Therapy Internship at Atlantic Sports & Rehabilitation
As a second year, I applied to and was interviewed for a clinical internship through University Internships Program at UVa, through which I was placed at Atlantic Sports & Rehabilitation for the 2016-2017 academic year.
What made you decide to engage in this clinical opportunity?
Knowing that I desired to enter a health-related field, I sought out opportunities that would provide me with a way to gain skills such as bedside etiquette, in addition to the contact hours necessary to apply for graduate school. It also supplied me with 4 credits of upper-level Psychology per semester through a weekly seminar.
What does your experience consist of?
Most days begin with me reviewing the hourly patient schedule and recording any cancellations, after which I admit patients into treatment areas as they arrive to their appointment. My main task is assisting patients with completing their exercise regimens, however, I am also trained to apply therapeutic modalities to patients as well. In total, I work approximately 10-12 hours per week, split between two days.
What has distinguished this opportunity from other options you might have pursued?
The amount of clinical knowledge and hands-on experience I have obtained from my internship has been much greater than in any other healthcare setting I have had exposure to. Not only have I learned the physiological basis and scientific reasoning for use of various treatments, but I have also been taught how to use them on my own. In addition, I have been given the responsibility of handling patient files and recording new information, while maintaining confidentiality of their information-- tasks that are necessary in any healthcare profession.
Why do you recommend this opportunity for other UVA students?
I recommend a Physical Therapy internship to anyone seeking a greater amount of patient interaction and exposure to a healthcare setting. PT clinics provide a laid-back environment in which one can learn more about what the profession entails, while gaining confidence in their ability to provide effective care to individuals receiving therapy.
How has this experience helped prepare you for the future?
Interning at Atlantic has been principal in solidifying my decision to pursue a career in the medical field. Although I am still in the process of choosing between a DPT or DO program for graduate school, my internship has provided much insight into what I desire my future to look like in terms of work-life balance and workplace environment.
Overall, I highly suggest seeking opportunities that will serve as exposure to a type of career and the efforts, hours, and setting it entails, rather than simply as a means to gain hours or clinical skills. Knowing well in advance the quality of life you may have working in a certain profession is vital to knowing whether or not you should focus your education on preparing for that particular field. Make sure you enjoy it!
Ashley Bykowski is a 3rd year pre-health student in the Curry School of Education majoring in Kinesiology. She has served on the Pre-Health Student Leadership Advisory Board since 2015.