By: Alejandra Chavez-Hernandez (MAT Class of 2020)
This summer I have the privilege of being at the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute in Highland Park, Illinois for my summer field experience under the guidance of my preceptors Paul Schmidt PT, ATC and Bria Wanzung PT, DPT, ATC. The Illinois Bone and Joint Institute is one of the largest independent orthopedic practices in the US.
IBJI is truly a great fit for me because one of my goals for the summer was to learn more about rehab and being at this site has helped me achieve that goal and so much more. I have two great preceptors that have each taught me a lot about the rehab process from different perspectives. I am often challenged to think creatively when thinking of new exercises that are appropriate for different patients according to their injury and rehab goals. I have especially learned a lot about different manual therapy techniques as well as rehab tools that I found very interesting such as a blood flow restriction used to help patients recover from their injury by periodically reducing the blood flow to the limb as they perform different exercises to help increase their strength.
I typically spend two days out of the week with Bria and then two days with Paul. I usually observe my preceptor as they work with their patient and then I lead the patient through their rehab exercises. This has helped me learn a lot about how to properly communicate the right cues to the patient to make sure they are doing their exercises in a safe and correct manner. I have also had the opportunity to shadow other health professionals at IBJI such as sports medicine doctors and other physical therapists who specialize in things such as rehab for patients with concussions.
Something that I really appreciate from being at IBJI has been learning to practice my skills with patients of all ages. I am used to being around high school and college athletes from previous clinical experiences, but at IBJI I have been able to utilize my skills with kids, adults and elders, which has been great because I have learned a lot about how to modify different rehab exercises to fit the patients needs.
I am enjoying this experience because it has showed me a different setting where athletic trainers work, especially because it is a setting I aspire to practice in the future. I am grateful for this opportunity to learn from great clinicians in this dynamic learning environment. I look forward to the rest of my summer at IBJI!
Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.