I recently had my second experience in shadowing at a physical therapy office. Much like the first time, I was able to learn so much in a short amount of time. I saw a one new patient, but the rest of the patients were the same ones that I saw in the week prior. Seeing new cases allows me to see a greater variety of conditions and the treatment approaches for them which helps to expand my knowledge.
The great thing about seeing the same patients is that you are able to see the progressions that they go through. The Physical Therapist and I discussed the idea that seeing the same patients is equally beneficial for me at this time. This is because progressions are often implemented by the Physical Therapist when assigning particular exercises. The exercises often follow a series that target specific muscles of interest and advancements are made with the exercises to further challenge the patient. It’s vitally important to progressively challenge the muscles with exercise so the patient is consistently improving in a specific area (For example: strengthening or increasing mobility). It’s also important that exercises start simple to avoid injury and then are gradually increase in difficulty. When patients are not progressed correctly, the chance of them getting injured and not improving their mental or physical status is higher. By seeing the same patients, I am able to better understand the importance of these progressions and see them implemented into programs.
In the next time I observe at this office, I hope to see new patients and some of the same again. Little by little I am able to pick up new ideas and gain insight on the conditions and treatments that physical therapist treat and prescribe. Each time I have observed, I have become more confident in my desire to become a Physical Therapist one day.