Mini-Clinics Prevent Burnout As a Student

Mini-Clinics Prevent Burnout As a Student

Lisa Peterkin, UNM SPT

We hear about burnout after a physical therapist begins practicing for a few years, and learn about ways to prevent it and remain interested and invested in your practice and in your patients.  However, we never talk about burnout while in school.  After sitting in class week after week for 35+ hours, it can be mentally and physically taxing. It can be hard to still have that passion that we had when we first entered the program.  

In the Physical Therapy program at the University of New Mexico, we participate in weekly mini-clinics throughout each semester.  We go to various clinics, rehabilitation facilities, and hospitals throughout the city and surrounding areas for 4 hours on a Wednesday morning.  We are partnered up with another student in our class every week, and are assigned to a clinical instructor at the clinic we’re attending that week.  There are many benefits to this aspect of the program.  It allows us to practice newly learned skills and brainstorm together when presented with newer conditions or techniques. 

It’s also beneficial to be able to work with different physical therapists of different backgrounds, different work experiences, different ages, different educations, and so much more.  It exposes us to a variety of styles and techniques, and we gain little tips and tricks on how to transfer larger patients, hand placements to improve reliability of special tests and ease when performing them, or how to have proper body mechanics for different body types.  These first-hand experiences also give us insight on what to prioritize when the physical therapist is running out of time with a patient during an evaluation or a follow- up treatment.  Many of the physical therapists I’ve worked under have a different flow while doing an evaluation, and it’s helpful to see what works, and to think about what I would do differently to come up with my own flow when I’m working with a patient.

After every mini-clinic, we have a little reflection assignment due in our classes. We have a checklist of different things that we ideally would have seen in a morning at a clinic or hospital.  This includes things such as testing sensation, proprioception, range of motion, balance, etc.  It gives us an opportunity, once we’ve left the clinic, to reflect on everything we did, and why that was necessary for that patient. Occasionally, depending on the setting, we have the opportunity to work with, or alongside, other health care professionals, such as occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists, MDs, and nurses. We get to see how the physical therapist we are working under interacts with other health care professionals and see what role each of those people play in the patient’s overall health care. 

While all these tips and tricks and times to practice are valuable and helpful, I personally believe the most valuable part is actually being able to work with real patients in a real clinical setting.  It breaks up the monotony of sitting in a classroom listening to lectures for 7-8 hours every day, and it gives us a chance to reignite the spark that made us all want to become physical therapists in the first place.  It gives us half a day of problem solving with complex patients, talking with patients about their goals with physical therapy, and allows us to see even minor improvements with patients within one treatment session.  Mini-clinics keep us interested and passionate about the profession when we start to feel burnout from being a student. 

Treating the Whole Patient.

Treating the Whole Patient.

The noncompliant patient who convinced me to study PT 

Megan Cheng, SPT

We didn’t do any therEx. It was, in a way, the least physical physical-therapy appointment I’d ever seen.
But it was this appointment that opened my eyes to the profession and convinced me to go to PT school.
I was shadowing at a physical therapy clinic for the first time. I watched appointments quietly, worried about getting in the way, and asked shy questions. This patient arrived for her follow-up appointment late. Her face was flushed and she talked quickly, spilling out every inconvenience of a bad day, her general frustration with the medical system in general and several nurses in particular. She didn’t understand her radiology report, no one would explain it right, they said she was taking up too much of their time, she was running late, it was too hot out…
The PT nodded along, then gently mentioned the HEP. 
Now the patient looked as if she was going to cry. She hadn’t done it, she didn’t know if there was any progress, it was so warm in here…
My mentor asked if the patient would like to use the session for soft tissue work, ultrasound, and looking at the radiologist’s report together.
The patient finally stopped for breath.
After some quick gross motor tests, we went back to a private treatment room, where the PT gave manual therapy and ultrasound, and listened. She gently offered perspectives (“you know, it’s likely this person didn’t mean it that way…”). She summarized the radiology report in a few sentences, and the patient immediately accepted it (“See, why didn’t they say that?”). In the end, the PT reassigned the previous HEP, and the patient left calm, breathing deeply.
After she left, the therapist saw my puzzled face and quietly told me some previous conditions in the patient’s history to explain her emotional instability.
I left, thinking. 
The patient had a distorted view of pretty much everyone she talked about. She complained about other medical professionals, she was impatient with people in general. But she was convinced that the therapist was on her side. The therapist cared.
One of my classmates says that they were inspired to pursue PT when they realized how physical therapy treatment helped them “mentally and not just physically.” This is similar to my own motivation. This appointment was one of the first times I realized the wonderful opportunity PTs have to treat a whole person – to come alongside people who are hurting or frustrated or just have questions, and to be on their team as they heal. 
 I know I’m preaching to the choir – if you’re reading this blog you’re probably a healthcare  provider  and you know what an influence a person’s emotional health can have on their success in therapy.  But I’m hoping that the story can encourage you when you are teaching students. We learn more from watching you than hand positioning for goniometry. We see you motivate patients to push on and achieve their goals. We see your compassion, and the ways that you carefully gain a patient’s trust. Soldier on! We’re learning from you.

A New Online Learning Tool On How to Automate Patient Care Plans for Physical Therapy Practice Owners

Care Plan Automation Solution Is Now Available with BestPT Billing and EHR Software

automated care plans for physical therapistsCLEARWATER, FLORIDA (PRWEB) NOVEMBER 24, 2015

BestPT Billing and EHR Software helps their clients manage patient care plans. Their Care Plan management tool ensures that patients understand their financial commitments prior to accepting care, while practice owners standardize billing and comply with payer’s copay and coinsurance requirements.

According to Dr. Eldad De-Medonsa, bestPTs’ President and PhD in Artificial Intelligence, the effects of using automated care plans for care planning and monitoring help improve outcomes and maintain financial health of the practice. “Care plans are important because patients will not commit to care if they cannot easily understand their financial commitment. As importantly, practice owners have to stay compliant by charging, adjusting, and writing off the correct amounts. We leverage the cloud, billing experts, and Artificial Intelligence to help design the most effective practice management software,” says De-Medonsa.

Click here to view the webinar and to learn more.

About BestPT and Billing Dynamix, LLC

BestPT by Billing Dynamix is a comprehensive cloud-based Physical Therapy Practice Management system that includes intuitive EMR, industry-leading billing, scheduling, and powerful yet simple workflow management. Save documentation time and keep legible and compliant documents. Automate claims and leverage over 2.5 million coding rules spanning 2,500 practice-years of experience. Reduce administrative overhead and foster staff teamwork. BestPT is the ONLY Physical Therapy clinic solution that reduces administrative time by 70% compared to industry averages – GUARANTEED. Complete practice management consulting and a rich array of integrated products and services round out bestPT product and service packages. Register for a private Demo+, and review our industry-leading guarantee at



Understanding Through Images and Animations


Plugging In

Will Shannon find her patient education solution in the cloud?

“Aren’t we the modern family!” Mike laughed, looking around the room. His wife was at her laptop and he was at his, their youngest daughter was playing a game on a tablet, and the other kids were texting friends on their phones. The TV was on, too, so there were more screens active than people.

Shannon looked at him doubtfully. “What do you mean?”

“Look at all these screens! We’re all plugged into our devices — together in the room, but each of us hooked up to our own electronic stuff.”

“You’re right. But I think I might have made a breakthrough on the patient education issue.” Shannon scooted closer and showed Mike her screen. “See these 3-D images and animations?”

The older kids came close to see. “Awesome!” their son said.

“It’s awesome, all right — the largest library of 3-D animations of medical conditions anywhere, and there are lots of exercise and rehab images, too.”

“So,” Mike said, “the idea is that you can show these to patients and they’ll understand their conditions better?”

“Their conditions, the treatments we want to use, the exercises they should be doing at home — everything! When they understand, they’ll be more likely to follow through.”

“Also,” their son put in, “you’ll be the coolest PT in town. They could make a game out of these.”

Shannon laughed. “They don’t have a game, but we can email them a custom report so they have the information they need at home in between visits. Plus, it’s browser-based, so we can use it all through the practice. That means we’ll all be giving them a consistent message, so there’ll be less chance of confusion — and less chance that they’ll feel they have to go somewhere else for information.”

“This is impressive,” Mike agreed. “I can see that this could be a selling point for you.”

“It’s also integrated with practice management software, so it can be part of our regular workflow, not more work for us.”

“It makes sense. This is clearly a good use of technology. Now maybe we as a family should unplug and do something together.”

Will Shannon find her patient education solution in the cloud?

Disclaimer: For HIPAA compliance, all characters appearing in this post are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons or actual events is purely coincidental.

Physical Therapy Software | Improve patient relationships with visual education tools

physical therapy software_3DRX-patient educationAre you worried about patient flow fluctuations at your physical therapy practice? Inconsistent patient flow results in unpredictable cash flow which puts the future of your practice in jeopardy. To avoid going out of business, you need to attack the problem at its root– patient education. You can improve your patient relationships and increase your retention rate by using more effective, visual patient education tools.

It is difficult to explain diagnosis and treatment options to patients in simple terms due to the complexity of the human body. To make matters worse, your patients only retain about seven percent of the educational health information you share with them via traditional methods. Add to this conundrum your limited time available for each patient visit and you have a recipe for low patient flow.

When patients don’t understand their health issues and prescribed care plan, they don’t return for treatment or follow your instructions. As a result, they are not getting better and they are sure to blame you.

These no-shows can also cause compliance issues for your physical therapy practice as the insurance companies can request payments back for patients who stop treatment.

You can boost your patients’ comprehension of your diagnosis and save time explaining it by using the visual 3DRX patient education software directly from the travel card. The 3D animations and videos are easy to understand and explain various conditions visually without overwhelming or confusing your patients. At the end of the visit you can quickly email the prescribed care plan with 3DRX images and instructions to your patients to ensure compliance. Once they understand what causes their discomfort and how your treatment will alleviate it, they will be much more motivated to return for their next appointments.

A patient portal as well as an option to subscribe to rehabilitation exercises provide additional opportunities to help your patients stay on track with their care plans. Last but not least, 3DRX also lets you offer Durable Medical Equipment to your patients as an additional income source.

Contact your SPOC if you want to start using this effective patient education tool that is integrated with your bestPT system.