If you can’t afford physical therapy, an area clinic may be able to help. Students at St. Francis University in Loretto can get their doctorate degree in physical therapy in six years, with about half of their time spent in class and the other half in professional and clinical work.
As part of their hands-on experience, graduate students are sharing their knowledge and practical skills with members of the community who need their help.
For each of the past four years, 20 to 40 graduate students have offered physical therapy to uninsured or underinsured residents at the Community Access Rehabilitation Clinic for Everyone Clinic –the CARE Clinic, for short.
Clinical Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy, Mark Boland brought the program to St. Francis, after attending a conference on student-run clinics. He and other faculty members at the university oversee the CARE Clinic, located in the DiSepio Institute for Rural Health and Wellness on campus.
Molly Latoche and James Macek, in their final year in the PT doctoral program, sit on the student board that helps operate the clinic.
“Since we’re in the classroom and we come in here, we have some of the most up to date knowledge and up to date information so we can apply the best, newest, techniques to the patients,” Macek says.
Latoche adds, ” the way a lot of people learn is hands on and a lot of our best opportunities to grow as clinicians come from our clinicals, when we go out and actually see patients.
The students say working at the CARE Clinic not only improves their therapy skills, it also shows them what’s involved in running a medical practice.
Macek says, “It’s a little bit surprising and i guess a little intimidating the stuff that you have to do to run the clinic.”
“The day to day activities of getting medical records of making sure all the insurance is lined up right, there’s a lot of situations that we have because of the nature of our work,” Latoche comments.
But overall, it’s a very rewarding experience for all involved.
“It feels a lot better than just seeing things in textbook and learning about it, whereas here we are able to apply the information and see how it pays off and how it actually helps people with impairments,” Macek says.
Patients need to meet income requirements in order to qualify for physical therapy at the CARE Clinic. You can call the clinic at 814-471-1280 or send an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.