It’s only been two weeks and we are finally picking up the pace in class. This spring quarter was intentionally organized to be significantly easier that winter quarter to create a better segue into summer and our comprehensive exam coming up in august. We have added a couple new courses to the program during this quarter to tag along with the cyclical coursework in neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, and clinical education: Multiple systems, PT Administration, and Geriatrics. Although it may seem like an over the top kind of schedule, there a less hours this quarter spent in the classroom and more time outside of class to work on group projects, quizzes, and homework assignments. On top of it all the weather has been making a turn for the best with the daytime temps extending into the 60’s which has got our class and seemingly everyone on campus very excited to know the cold is now behind us.
In musculoskeletal we have moved on from the knee and hip and have started covering the SI joint, and just this past week progressed to spinal manipulation with one of the most decorated and knowledgeable orthopedic PT specialists around; Dr. Steve Allen. Due to the recent change of events, physical therapists have finally recaptured the ability to practice spinal manipulation in Washington again. Years ago Washington PTs gave up that privilege while negotiating for the option of obtaining direct access. But in the end we have prevailed in getting that right back with a few stipulations regarding the amount of spinal imaging and manipulation practice. For these reasons we have brought in Steve Allen in to assist in teaching this section of our coursework. It is so nice to be taught by a man with so much knowledge and passion for what he does, yet the humility and modesty of the average man. We will be sure to glean as much as we can in the weeks to come.
Our Geriatrics class that is held once a week is instructed by one of our adjunct faculty members, Chris Henderson who is an experienced clinician and rehab director over in Olympia at Aegis Therapies. Chris is a bit of a comedian who makes his lectures on dementia and aging engaging and substantial. In his course we are learning the in’s and out’s of geriatric care from the first evaluation all the way to home assessments and modifications for discharge. The past two weeks we have discussed the differences between normal and pathological aging. Because as we age there are some expected consequences to our health but it need to be known where to draw the line between expected detriment and disease related changes in function. This past week we have moved on to one of the larger, more umbrella topics of dementia and cognitive decline. One of my favorite quotes was when he said, “ Its not that the patient was non-compliant with the therapy program, but the therapist was non-compliant with the dementia program”. Wise words and very insightful as to what it is like viewing therapy in the patients perspective.
Appropriately, this quarter our professor Dr. Russell, who is also the associate dean of the health sciences, is teaching our PT administration course. In this course we have been talking about some of the legalities of PT practice, boundary violations, communication within and between companies/occupations, and marketing a business, because ultimately that is what we will become a part of. Later this quarter we will be dividing up into groups and constructing a business plan for a proposed clinic that includes all the nuances of running a business.
As a culmination class, our multiple systems course focuses on patients that will come to us with a plethora of pathology that does not fit a single diagnosis code. This course is taught by Dr. Gersh and Dr. Nelson, as well a few guest lecturers that specialize in specific pathology. So far we have lectured on patients with hemophilia and patients with psychological disorders, each presenting with their own clinical difficulties and considerations. This past week we had a comedic guest lecture by Dr. Ron Klein, a clinical psychologist who detailed the in’s and out’s of how to work with patients with a variety of common disorders. He also talked about the difficult topics of sexual inappropriateness and how to redirect and diffusing awkward situations that undoubtedly will happen to all of us at some point in our careers.
This quarter in our neuromuscular class we have had the luxury of having Dana McPhee come back to help with our Neuro ICU section. So far we have covered ischemic pathology along with spinal cord injury. Specifically we have discussed the different pathologies, varying presentations, diagnostic tests, and medical support equipment. One of the benefits to having Dana is that she is so knowledgeable, current, and experienced in the field that she has the capacity to condense her understanding into a palatable dose that we can make sense of. A true blessing at this point in the curriculum when we are running out of space upstairs.