July 14, 2018

SLU AT Student Recognizes the Importance of Communication in Clinical Practice at Athletico and Fenwick HS

SLU AT Summer Field Experience Spotlight -  Athletico/Fenwick High School, Oak Park, IL
By: Matthew Eifert (SLU MAT Class of 2019)

My field experience with preceptor Tony McCormick ATC at Athletico and Fenwick High School has provided the unique opportunity to practice with diverse patient populations in the clinical and high school setting.  
The goals and abilities between the two groups may be drastically different but many aspects of their care remain the same. Some patients find isolating smaller muscles difficult (such as the rhomboids). Verbal communication and cues can only get a practitioner so far. This is especially true when a language barrier is present between the client and clinician. Showing the patient, the exercise yourself while explaining the details can help bridge the gap. Further visual cues such as a mirror will allow the patient to correct themselves independently. Depending on the experience and extent of their pathology, patients may require more instruction.
Tactile cues can be an effective manual strategy to help a patient contract the muscle group short of neuromuscular stimulation. Using touch on the desired structures; clinicians can persuade correct motion. Using a half foam roll between the patients back and a wall can help recruit scapular adduction using the Rhomboid muscles. The focused pressure from the roll along the spine of the patient will highlight the movement of their shoulder blades towards midline. Tactile cues can simply be the practitioner palpating the targeted muscles during the exercise.  Its very important to maintain professionalism and patient consent during the entire interaction; but especially when physical contact is necessary. 

Communication remains paramount with any population in health care. A lack of information being exchanged between the patient and practitioner is a major hurdle to the delivery of care. Transparency, on the other hand, leads to better outcomes. 

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.

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