Things Just Got Real.

It feels like just yesterday I was writing my first blog post, preparing to come to Slippery Rock, and here I am: done with my first year, and halfway done with my first Clinical Experience!!  Things really sunk in the other day when I was putting together my materials for my internship about how far I’ve come this year.  The amount of knowledge I’ve obtained in the last 330-ish days is unbelievable; as is the amount that I have grown as an SPT and a person.  I am so grateful to be given this opportunity here at SRU-each day, I am one step closer to reaching my dreams and I couldn’t be more excited to continue on my path to Elizabeth Stanek, PT, DPT.

In preparation for my first clinical experience, I put together a Clinical Binder of some pertinent information from the last year of didactic work.  I went to Walmart and got an adorable 3 ring binder.  I couldn’t find the exact binder on Walmart’s website, but it was under $10 and has the same design as the notebook below.

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When I was shopping at target, I found the cutest index dividers; and they were less than $3!  It’s hard to tell from the picture but the dots are little gold metallic pieces!

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On each of the five dividers, I labeled them the following:

  • Upper Quarter Screen
    • I printed a handout from our PT Assessments & Procedures course that compiles a list of joint ROMs, myotomes, dermatomes, and reflexes for the upper extremity.
  • Lower Quarter Screen
    • This is the same handout from PT Assessments & Procedures, but for the lower extremity.
  • Common Conditions
    • Another handout from PT Assessments & Procedures, this chart includes common conditions and symptoms that go along with them for the shoulder, elbow, wrist/hand, hip, knee, and ankle/foot.
  • Vestibular
    • My CI (clinical instructor) is a vestibular specialist, so I included some notes from the vestibular unit in Neuroscience that review the semicircular canals and otolith organs, as well as a handout of vestibular case studies we reviewed in class.
  • Functional Movement Screens/Fall Screens/Special Tests.
    • I included in this last section FMS scoring criteria and fall risk assessment instructions I got from a Pro Bono club meeting.
    • I also printed off seven special tests of the lower extremity from PT Assessments & Procedures.
      • Ober test
        • for tightness or contraction of IT band
      • FABER test
        • also known as Patrick’s test
        • for pathology of the hip or SI joint
      • Thomas test
        • for tightness of hip flexors
      • Ely’s test
        • for tightness of rectus femurs muscle
      • Femoral nerve stretch test
        • for assessing involvement of femoral nerve (L3, L4 nerve root)
      • Collateral ligament instability
        • for MCL, LCL
      • Cruciate ligament test
        • for ACL, PCL instability

To complete my clinical binder, I included a blank college-ruled notebook and a clinical skill set checklist and professional development plan given to us by our course instructor.  The skill set checklist is just a list to help us track of how much of what we’ve learned in the last year that we’re able to do on our two week clinical affiliation.  It itemizes skills such as upper/lower quarter screen, vital signs, patient interview, documentation, goal writing, manual muscle testing, goniometry, modalities, therapeutic exercise, infection control, postural assessment, postural/body mechanics training, bed positioning/draping, palpation, soft tissue massage, gait training, transfers, wheelchair/assistive device prescription, bed mobility, neurologic testing, gait assessment, and clinical emergency management.  The professional development plan requires us to start with three goals to work towards during our four clinical affiliations, and track our progress when affiliations are completed.

I also finally caved and purchased my Happy Planner from Me and My Big Ideas!  Michael’s was having a sale, so I got it 40% off (less than $25)!  Instead of just buying the planner alone, I bought a student kit which included one classic sized planner, highlighting tape, three pages of stickers, four sticky note pads, and two magnetic bookmarks.  I liked this option because for about the same price as a planner alone, I got a kit tailored specifically to my academic usage.  They also make kits for teachers, faith, and cooking!  Not to mention you can buy inserts for budgeting, fitness, wedding planning, and more!  I’m pretty sure I got way more enjoyment out of getting a new planner than pretty much anyone else would get purchasing something actually cool like a bag or new clothes- nerd moment.  But just look at it- so cute and so much organization!!

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In the bag that I’m taking with me, I also threw in my bag of PT supplies (goniometers, stethoscope, sphygmomanometer, reflex hammer, pen light, and some pens) to have on hand for any vitals or assessments I may need to perform while on my affiliation.

Now that I finished preparing my Clinical Binder and got some new supplies, all there’s left for me to do is show them how much I’ve learned, show off my skills, and learn A LOT!!  Next weekend I’ll update y’all on how everything went; I’m loving it so far, learning a ton, and getting some awesome experience doing what I LOVE.


Keep on Dreaming,





2 thoughts on “Things Just Got Real.

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