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School Spotlight: Midwestern University & Elgin Community College

Monday, December 4, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Matthew Nicholas
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School Spotlight

By: Megan Lamphere, SPT, Northwestern University

Is your school holding an event or inviting guest speakers to share their knowledge with your class? We want to highlight your school!

Elgin Community College and Midwestern earned the spotlight for this edition of SSIG Vitals.

Elgin Community College is located in Elgin, IL mid-way between Rockford and Chicago. The PTA students at Elgin have taken steps to be active in their community and advocate for the profession. Recently, Illinois Senator Cristina Castro visited the PTA class in celebration of Physical Therapy Month. Kimberly Tarver, PT, MPH, a professor at Elgin, initiated the visit:

Dr. Tarver encourages student involvement regarding legislative issues and concerns facing the profession of physical therapy.  For National Physical Therapy Month, Dr. Tarver annually invites someone in a political position to visit the classroom of the first-year first-semester students.  The students have to investigate current legislative issues concerning physical therapy and present the findings and concerns while offering their thoughts and suggestions. Students also provide information about physical therapy, about PTA’s and instruct the visitor in some physical therapy topic. Dr. Tarver gives each student in the cohort a task/role for the event so each student participates.  Accompanying the legislative discussion, some of the individual topics have included instructing the visitor in balance and basic activities to perform to improve balance, or discussions regarding posture and how to lift safely and appropriately, or basic ergonomics for the car and desk area.

This year Dr. Tarver arranged for the PTA cohort of 2017-2019 to invite Senator Castro to visit the class in celebration of National Physical Therapy Month.  Senator Castro listened intently to student presentations regarding car ergonomics and participated in demonstrations of desk ergonomics and appropriate office stretches. The students also discussed some of their concerns related to current legislative issues impacting physical therapy such as the co-pay situation. Simultaneously Senator Castro shared information related to some of the legislative processes and the importance of being committed, aware and involved in the legislative issues which helped further inspire and enlighten the students. It was a great learning event for all!

The benefits of this annual event, which purposefully occurs in the first semester of the PTA program, is to encourage students to become involved and teaches the student how to access and find the information, how to interpret and understand the issues and then how to advocate for the patient/profession.  The students learn how to present and interact/communicate appropriately with a political official and how to listen and learn effectively. The students are the future and getting them involved as soon as possible benefits not only the student, but the field of physical therapy.

Thank you Elgin for taking initiative with advocacy! We look forward to hearing more about what is happening at your school.

Midwestern University also hosted a unique event this Fall. They created an event to help students leaving for their clinical rotations. The 2nd and 3rd year students battled each other in an Evaluation Olympics. This year, Midwestern University Physical Therapy Program held its first Evaluation Olympics during the first week of the Fall Quarter. The event was planned and organized by the faculty of the program and was sponsored by the Student Physical Therapy Organization. One of the faculty members and a Director of Clinical Education, Dr. Keller, had received feedback from previous classes about not feeling as prepared for their last two clinicals, as there are not as many hands-on skills taught/reviewed during the last couple of didactic quarters. From their advice came an idea to review orthopedics, neuro, and acute care skills that would be used within the last two clinicals. Because students don’t want yet another class, she decided to make it a competition (which all students are crazy about)!

The skills consisted of everything from Manual Muscle Testing to Gait Training. Included in the score was our interaction with the “patient” (1st years from our program) to accuracy with the skill. The trivia portion (and most importantly, pizza) came after the skills portion. Questions varied from APTA/PT information (how many hours of ethics education are required as part of continuing education in Illinois), to orthopedic skills (name 5 special tests to test anterior instability of the shoulder joint), to quirky facts about the faculty (which faculty member collects interesting roadkill while running).

“It was fun being able to cheer on our friends as they performed a skill and being able to laugh about it when we accidently did a completely different skill than what was asked of us. We were able to review what we have learned, as well as get an idea of what we need to improve on, all while in a relaxed and positive environment. After completing the skill portion, we transitioned to trivia, which was my favorite part. The trivia categories included orthopedics, neurology, research, anatomy, and facts about our teachers. It was a fun way to work together and see what we remembered from these classes. We also got to learn some interesting facts about our professors. I am glad this event was such a success, and I am looking forward to participating again next year to test my skills before my final round of clinicals.”
~Morgan Lukert, 2nd Year SPT

Thanks goes out to Micaela Banks, PT, MBA from Elgin Community College and Rima Lintakas, SPT for contributing to this issue of the SSIG Vitals School Spotlight!

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