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Frustration with DPT School, Any Tips?

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  • Frustration with DPT School, Any Tips?

    Hello all.

    I've not been on the forums in forever so if there is something I need to modify in my posts, I will change accordingly.

    Anywho, some background information. I'm a current 2nd year in my DPT program (Doctor of Physical Therapy for those who wish to practice in PT/physio in the United States). I got into this because of my experience with strength & conditioning, personal training, and trying to find the intersection of rehabilitation and training in the current western healthcare/medical model. Ever since learning about Barbell Medicine and seeing how nuanced so many things are in the healthcare model alone, along with pain management and such, it inspired me to go into the field myself.

    So here's the juicy stuff, I'm finding it difficult to keep pushing through my curriculum when there is so much of my didactic knowledge that is so biomechanical or reductionist approach heavy. It doesn't help that my school is very Shirly Sahrmann/Movement Systems Impairments heavy. Manual muscle testing, joint mobilizations, massage/soft tissue therapy, "movement impairments", the list goes on and on. How do my fellow rehab people here keep their sanity knowing these things are so passive or have fairly low interrater reliability and such??? I'm also frustrated with how psychosocial factors are not really discussed that well in my curriculum, when they have such a huge influence on patient presentation in clinic. It's no wonder I'm dealing with burnout symptoms so badly, because the knowledge I feel like I'm consuming is just garbage for lack of better words. Any help would be grestly appreciated .

  • #2
    While I'm not in PT school yet, I can understand your position and frustration.
    For the most part when I'm at work at the PT clinic and I overhear improper narratives being pushed onto patients, and laughable exercise prescription and advice given, I just ignore it at this point.
    To quote Quinn Hennoch from Clinical Athlete, "Just get the piece of paper, then you can practice however you want." That's honestly how I plan on getting through PT school when the time comes, focus and try and excel at the material taught then try and get into a better clinician project & levelup mentorship to better myself as a clinician afterwards.

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    • #3
      Be respectful, but that doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything your professors teach. If you find a high quality evidence that contradicts what your professors are teaching, bring forth your evidence in class, when it’s appropriate. Be ready for opposition, and keep your composure always.

      The philosophy of practice that you see from the barbell medicine team is likely NOT what you’re going to see during your OP ortho clinical either. You will probably see a lot of the same stuff you’re seeing in school at your first PT job too, unfortunately.

      The truth is, no matter how much you know (or think you know) as of now, you are the student. And no professor or CI is going to be responsive to you saying that their way of practice is invalid, out of date, unreliable (or whatever else you feel)

      Its sad. But one day you will have the opportunity to change peoples lives and mentor students of your own. Be the change you want to see.

      And figure out a way to not be like them in 10 years when you’re out of school.

      Focus on learning everything you need to pass your boards. (most of what you’re learning in school)

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      • #4
        It's also pretty standard to see these narratives pushed all the time as well for personal trainers. Most gyms that offer personal trainer positions require knowledge and implementation of the ever famous functional movement screen. When I expressed my hesitation for it, they basically told me that functional movement is industry standard, but I am free to train client how I see fit. I'd imagine physical therapy would be much the same, where you are expected to practice some sort of "standard" initially, like a physical screening, followed by giving you the leeway to practice how you see fit. It might also vary depending on your clinic though. Get the paper, find a good clinic.

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