A reception desk and paperwork in the lobby, down the hall a station for vitals, and in the back rooms, rows and rows of treatment tables were ready for the morning of Oct. 29 to treat the students of AU and the residents of Berrien Springs. If you’re reading this and you feel like you missed out on an opportunity for a free massage, you’re sadly mistaken! The free Physical Therapy (PT) clinic reached out to individuals aggravated by balance issues, pain, recent injuries, and movement restriction according to C’Asia Bermudez, a second-year DPT (doctorate of physical therapy) student, service clinic coordinator, and fellow classmate.
Being both a DPT student and writer for the Student Movement, I have a fantastic platform to showcase my experience as a volunteer working with clinicians as well as advertising the vast benefits physical therapy has to offer.
“You guys are thorough,” a patient of mine said as I went through my evaluation. “I didn’t think you had to take vitals before you had to do any kind of PT work.”
Another function of the free PT clinic was to allow students to ask questions about PT or experience more about the PT profession. McKenna Wear (junior, pre-physical therapy) scheduled an appointment for 10 a.m.
She said, “I went to the PT clinic one-third curious and two-thirds because of a surgical procedure done on my shoulder that had left me with reduced stability when raising my right arm—and occasional pain.”
She was evaluated and treated by a second-year DPT student and a third-year DPT student, then left the clinic with nine exercises, a green Theraband, and a new appreciation for her rhomboids and trapezius muscles.
“I am really grateful for the opportunity this PT program gave the community and for the time and energy put into it by the PT students and the other PTs around the clinic. You guys made me excited to join your ranks in a couple of years.” said the prospective DPT student.
Students worked under the direct supervision of 13 licensed physical therapists consisting of AU alumni, therapists from the surrounding area, and AUPT faculty. So although students were taking vitals and treating patients independently, a seasoned physical therapist was always on hand to guide treatment and assist the student if a puzzling case presented itself.
The free service clinic extended its benefits not only to the patients, but also accordingly to the DPT student with exposure to real-world patients and palpable impairments.
A third-year student, Christina Goosey, discussed the importance of the free clinic to her education, “As a 3rd year student in the DPT program at Andrews University, I've been a part of several service clinics. Each one has given me hands-on experience with patients that has enriched my education as well as reminded me why I chose to apply to PT school—to restore quality of life to those in pain. It's easy to lose sight of that goal while plugging through classes and swimming in tests. Serving the patients that come through the service clinic has been a joy and a blessing in my life. I can confidently testify that in striving to bless others, you yourself are blessed.”
Forty-five patients came through the PT building on the corner of campus this past weekend, and with a goal of holding one service clinic every semester, the campus of AU and the community of Berrien Springs hopes to assist more individuals next spring.