Well I have officially completed my orthopaedic residency as of last week. I came out of school feeling very confident in my skills as a new graduate. I thought I was a step ahead with all the readings leading up to the residency start date. Upon retrospect, it's hard to describe how far I've come in the last year and how little I actually knew in the beginning. I cannot imagine treating patients using the methods I used a year ago. Each aspect of my residency and additional education has culminated in a better understanding of how to manage orthopaedic injuries. While it would be ideal for everyone to pursue a residency in my mind, I hope to at least provide an outline for clinical advancement by gaining additional education and training in various areas.
I have said many times before that one of my favorite aspects of the SHC residency is the multiple perspectives offered. With the Orthopaedic Section's monographs of the APTA, Sahrmann's Movement Impairment Syndromes, and lectures from a manual perspective by a FAAOMPT, we learn various methods of managing our patient's injuries. The monographs offer a summary of the more current research in regards to diagnosing and treating injuries at each joint. Unfortunately, some of the information is outdated and the monograph approach of focusing on pathological tissue is as well. However, this is something that is beneficial to be aware of as parts of the OCSE is based off it and may still be useful in patient care. The Sahrmann approach allows the clinician to categorize patients by different movement patterns that led to the injury. A therapist can become extremely successful just practicing these techniques. Finally, the manual approach was a huge draw to me as I believe manual therapy can accelerate the rehabilitation in many cases. It also allows a head start in a manual therapy fellowship.
One of the prime components of a residency is mentoring. While some jobs may state that mentoring is offered, it is required in residencies. Being able to utilize and learn from the clinical reasoning of a seasoned clinician with advanced training allows you to make connections that many require several years of practice to achieve. This coupled with lectures by experts in their field ensures high-level education.
There obviously was much more involved with the residency, but I wanted to focus on the educational aspect. As stated earlier, I have changed completely as a clinician from where the year began to where it has ended. While much of what I have learned was part of the residency, much has also come from outside that (IASTM, SFMA, following online blogs, etc.). While I feel a residency would be beneficial for any individual looking to advance their skills in a specific area, taking the appropriate courses or using the correct resources can do wonders as well. Do not simply try to get some quick CEU's to maintain your license. With each class you take, have a deliberate plan set for how you hope to grow as a clinician (not that something can't be learned in any course). For example, SFMA or McKenzie may allow you to improve your diagnostic and treatment skills by placing into appropriate categories and prioritizing your treatments. A manual therapy certification course, may enhance your hands-on skills with a specific school of thought. Reading a book like "Explain Pain" may allow you to develop a better understanding in different areas (this one being pain science and chronic pain management). Regardless of the method chosen, I hope you all begin to develop a plan for your education and development. As for me, I will be working at Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy in Scottsdale, AZ. I will begin my classes and mentoring in the Manual Therapy Institute's manual therapy fellowship in September and I hope to keep you all updated with some exciting new techniques I learn.