Name: Kayla Zuber
Type of Project: Internship Project
For my internship project, I worked as a rehabilitation technician and therapy intern for Blue Sky Therapy in Scioto Community skilled nursing facility. This internship allowed me to gain practical knowledge on healing and strengthening the body, and to have a more multi-faceted view on the rehabilitation provided by Physical Therapists. Through this internship, I explored the roles of a physical therapist in the skilled nursing facility setting.
Prior to this internship, I knew that I wanted to devote my academic career to becoming a physical therapist. I knew that it would be a challenging career, and one that directly aligns with my goals and aspirations to provide care to others. However, I did not have a clear idea on what providing care for individuals looked like. This experience taught me what the physical therapy profession entails. It also helped shaped my views on the physical therapy profession and the skills necessary to provide quality care to patients.
During my time at Blue Sky Therapy, I learned how to conduct myself among the geriatric population. Further, I gained an appreciation for the struggles that the geriatric population experiences on a day to day basis. This internship has also taught me about large scale social issues; most specifically aging, decline and the forms it can take in people’s ordinary lives. These lessons directly shaped my goals for myself with the field of physical therapy. I now want to learn more about providing optimal patient care in order to best serve my future patients. I saw the large impact quality patient care had on the recovery of the residents. I want to be one of the therapists that takes the time to really provide support and compassion to those in need.
While working with Blue Sky Therapy, my duty was to maintain an optimal therapy environment for the residents at the nursing home. This required me to clean, prepare, and organize the therapy spaces in between therapy appointments. When the gym spaces were adequately prepared, I prepared the paperwork necessary for the residents to receive their therapy. Additionally, I transported patients to and from their therapy appointments, as many of them are immobile. Though these tasks seem simple, they were the avenue through which I learned valuable lessons on the importance of quality patient care.
Because I was always transporting patients, I developed a strong bond with many of the residents. I received feedback from them on how much happier they felt in their exercises when they were working in a clean facility. This helped me realize the importance of maintaining a cleanly space for their therapy. They also gave me lots of feedback on how appreciative they were to have someone supporting them and showing them compassion during their rehabilitation. I valued my patient interactions because I knew that as a future physical therapist, I would one day work with individuals who struggle similar issues. Further, these patient interactions showed me how much better the patients performed when they had a connection with their therapist or myself. When they knew that I was there rooting them on, they felt more motivated to give more effort in their therapy appointments.
Lastly, these patient interactions granted me the opportunity to witness firsthand the struggles that the residents in a skilled nursing facility go through. I gained a lot of empathy for the geriatric population after witnessing the effects of physical atrophy and decline. Observing this physical decline amongst the residents has allowed to learn the importance and impact of treating patients with compassion and support.
This lesson was made very clear to me during my time with a stroke patient. One of the women I transported had a stroke in her old age that changed her world completely. She is no longer able to move the right side of her body. She needs hours of therapy a day to work towards returning function to her body. Through witnessing her therapy and rehabilitation I learned to have patience and compassion for people struggling with age related disorders. This experience showed me the distress and impairment it creates in people’s lives. All of these interactions helped shape me into a more compassionate care giver. I learned the hardships associated with aging, and the importance of providing these individuals with compassion and quality patient care.
The lessons I gained from working with Blue Sky Therapy improved my skills as a care provider, and helped me learn the importance of excellence patient care. The field of Physical Therapy is constantly evolving to continually provide the most optimal rehabilitation care for patients. Thus, it was important for me to observe and understand the therapy profession prior to entering graduate school to stay updated and educated on the field.
Finally, this internship allowed me to gain a better understanding of the profession and the importance of patience and compassion for your patients. Through working with patients one on one, I gained vital interpersonal skills. I am so thankful for this experience, as this internship perfectly fused together my desire to become a caring physical therapist with my aspirations of working with people who want to improve themselves, and my dedication to provide support to individuals trying to live healthier lifestyles.