Thursday, May 05, 2005

Being a CI

Well, it's been 3 days with my student, and WOW, this is HARD! I expected it to be different and somewhat difficult because I haven't been a clinical instructor (CI) before, but it's actually a lot more work than I thought it would be. It takes a lot more thought and energy than I thought it would. Prep work, research work, scheduling work, evaluation work, and most of all self control work. I want to let her do evals and treats and be the therapist, but I also want her to learn and get help when she needs it. I'm not always sure when to junp in and tell her what to do, or help her, and when to hold myself back and let her do what she needs to do.

Also with documentation, she has trouble putting things into appropriate wording, which comes with time. It took me awhile to be proficient at it even after I had my license. I want her to think and write and get it by herself, but she does need help and sometimes I feel like I'm dictating to her, or rather she asks for a suggestion, I give her an example or "topic" and she'll write what I say word-for-word, instead of taking the suggestion and formulating her own goal, or assessment. So I'm not sure where to draw the line, when to tell her stuff and when to let her think, when to jump in and tell her she's forgotten something and when to let her figure it out on her own.

I know it hasn't even been a week, so it's hard initially to let her take initiative etc. BUT, she's been a PTA for 15 years, in an acute care hospital, so she has a lot of experience (more than me) dealing with patients, treating patients, etc. Part of me feels like I don't have anything to teach her. And part of me sees the trouble with assessments and goals, or even documentation specific enough or assessment enough for a PT rather than a PTA. It's a hard situation to be in.

Like I said, it takes more work that I thought it would, more thought and more self control. All while tring to give her a good, and learning filled/challenging clinical experience.

And WOW does having a student change your productivity! I'm doing like 3 or so evals a DAY, and that's usually a morning for me. It takes a lot longer to write things up, and discuss, and answer questions and teach etc. But that's to be expected I guess.

Sometimes I feel like I'm teaching her bad habits. Like I've fallen into a pattern of generalizing things that are on specific measurement scales, saying min, mod, or severe instead of grade 1, 2, 3, or 4. Or I'll do a gross assessment instead of performing specific tests. But the funny thing is, when I ask all the other therapists, what certain scales were, because she had asked and I had forgotten, they didn't know either. They generalized also. BUT, she needs to know these things for her boards and supposedly to be a good clinician. So I have to really think about the specifics of tests, and measurements etc, instead of making generalizations. Do as I say, and not as I do....

But in a way, it's good, it keeps my own skills sharp, it keeps me on my toes and always learning, it keeps me from getting to complacent and relaxed, it kicks me in the buttocks enough that I realize I still have a lot to learn. ESPECIALLY if I want to end up teaching in PT some day.

So being a CI is a lot of work, but it's fun at the same time. My student is really nice, we get along, we seem to work well together. It's nice to have an extra hand for assistance or a boost when I need it instead of finding a nurse for help. And it's a different experience, and keeps life interesting. So I like it so far. Though it still feels different and kind of weird. But that's ok too. :)

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