This semester we’ve decided to start a new blog series – #ServiceSaturdays. Nazareth College was founded in 1924 by a group of nuns known as the Sisters of Saint Joseph. We dropped our affiliation with the nuns in the mid-1970s and now identify as an independent, interfaith community (read as: we welcome individuals of all religions to our campus). However, the nuns endowed Nazareth with a personality as a college including a commitment to be involved with the community around us; civic engagement and community service are a huge part of student life here on campus. Each Saturday we’ll be highlighting different ways our students participate in civic engagement and community service from alternative break trips to experiential learning as a classroom requirement to fundraising by clubs on campus.
Without further ado, here’s our inaugural post pertaining to our on-campus physical therapy clinics.
One of the biggest reasons I chose to come to Nazareth as a physical therapy major was the on-campus clinics. During both your first and second years of grad school here at Nazareth College, you will spend time in various clinics that serve patients in the Rochester area pro bono. As a student, more time working with clients will always be beneficial in your education so the clinics are a win-win for all involved; a learning experience for the students who work in them as well as a way for the patients to access services they might not have otherwise had access to. As tour guides and student ambassadors, we do a lot of talking about the clinics without every going into detail about what they are. This blog is meant to be a quick overview of the myriad populations you will have a chance to work with while on campus here.
1) Multiple Sclerosis Clinic – First year students work in a wellness clinic for patients with multiple sclerosis. For those of you not familiar with the disease, it affects a person’s ability to send nervous signals to control their muscles leading to a gradual loss of motor control. Patients in this clinic range from very high functioning to wheelchair bound giving first year students the opportunity to design interventions specifically for their patient and his or her specific limitations.
2) Wellness Clinic – Another clinic for first year students that happens opposite the semester you’re in MS clinic. The class will be split in half and one group will be in MS clinic first and the other half will be in wellness clinic first. Our wellness clinics give student the opportunity to design and lead group exercise classes for myriad populations from students with developmental disabilities to adults with traumatic brain injuries to seniors in local nursing homes.
3) Kid’s Club – An optional on-campus pediatric clinic that is co-treated with music therapists and occupational therapists. Kids with developmental disabilities such as autism or sensory processing disorder come to work on social interaction, gross motor skills, and sensory integration. This is an incredible opportunity for students to work in an interdisciplinary setting! The fact that Nazareth College has students of physical therapy, occupational therapy, art therapy, music therapy, and speech therapy all in one building is a phenomenal chance to work alongside other allied health professionals before moving out into the real world, because so much of treatment in the real world involves the collaboration of an interdisciplinary team.
4) Neuro Clinic – Second year physical therapy students work in both neuro clinic and orthopedic clinic simultaneously. In neuro clinic, students work in pairs to treat patients with neurological impairments such as post-stroke rehab, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, or rehab after a tumor. Rather than only having one patient each semester, students will work with multiple patients a day. Some of our patients receive simultaneous services from occupational therapy, speech therapy, and music therapy which means that we also get the opportunity to co-treat in neuro clinic as well.
5) Orthopedic Clinic – Very similar to neuro clinic but students will see patients with musculoskeletal problems like low back pain, torn ACLs, and ankle sprains. In both neuro and ortho clinic, we get to spend an hour with each of our clients while being supervised by both a 3rd year student and a clinic instructor.
6) Prosthetics and Orthotics Clinic – A brand new clinic that we just started. Second year students work on teams to improve the gait and other functional activities of patients who have recently been fitted with prosthetic limbs or orthotic devices.
As you can see, our students treat a variety of patients with a wide range of conditions before they even go out on to full time clinics. I cannot stress enough how the opportunity to see patients, design interventions, and work on a team of other physical therapists as well as other allied professionals has helped prepare me for full-time clinicals. The opportunities we have as physical therapy students at Nazareth College are truly amazing!
There are tons of community service opportunities at Naz. Here are all of the other posts in our #ServiceSaturdays series: