When I was in school, I thought the idea of being a clinical instructor (CI) was ridiculous. Why would I want to spend time teaching a newbie? As PT's, we work long enough hours without having a student that the requirement of teaching would only lengthen our time in the clinic. The pain of doing the CPI alone wouldn't be worth it. Now that I have had a couple students, I have definitely changed my perspective.
One of the obvious benefits of having a student is the development of a further grasp of the knowledge. When I have a student, I like to simulate an advanced orthopaedic seminar. Throughout the rotation we focus on the different body parts and the orthopaedic management. This requires retention of anatomical and biomechanical facts that are critical for assessment and treatment. We shouldn't teach if we don't know the material, so regular review is important. Secondly, having students challenges us as clinicians. Things we may have taken without question in previous training may not have as solid reasoning once reviewed more closely.
If you're considering having a student, I recommend developing a formal plan throughout the rotation. There are many aspects of clinical development we want to cover and we are always short on time. Personally, when educating the patient on different techniques, I break up the rotation via body regions, with an emphasis on spine. Students will benefit from working with other PT's as well in order to gain different perspectives. There are many different ways to provide a solid setting for clinical growth, but remember to speak with your students about their individual goals.
Again, I recommend taking on students, if given the opportunity. Not only will it help you as a clinician, but it will help many work their way into the profession. Schools are always looking for additional clinical locations. We should be proactive in guiding our potential colleagues into better awareness of their responsibilities in each setting.
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