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Providing quality physical therapy to patients recovering from an accident or injury, a stroke, suffering from a sports injury, or as part of the recovery process of joint replacement is a team effort.
It takes a dedicated team of therapy professionals to return a person to their fullest physical capabilities and that team at Dosher Memorial Hospital includes post-graduate school interns from highly regarded university physical therapy programs throughout the nation.
“Two universities which send us PT interns on an ongoing basis are Washington University in St. Louis and East Carolina University,” said Gene Deslauriers, director of Dosher Hospital’s Physical Therapy department. “Dosher has become one of Washington and East Carolina’s favorite intern sites because of our wonderful, diverse patient population, our caring professional staff, and communication and teamwork between our physical therapists and physicians. We’ve been offering therapy internship opportunities at our hospital for more than twenty years, and what we’ve found over the years is that we gain as much from the students who serve here as they gain professional experience with us.”
In June, two students completed their therapy internships at Dosher Hospital. Megan Prouhet, a first-year graduate student from Washington University, and Jillian Chiappisi, in the final year of her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from East Carolina University, have been working alongside the therapists at Dosher for the past eight weeks.
“I’m originally from Wentzville, Mo., and this is only my second visit to the East Coast,” Prouhet said. “I’m delighted to be learning at Dosher Memorial Hospital. Because of the closeness and family atmosphere here at Dosher, I was able to consult with physicians concerning patient care, which might not have been possible elsewhere. There are many things I love about this profession, such as the personal interaction with patients, the challenges on a day-to-day basis, learning new things every day, and the fact that every day brings something new.”
Like Prouhet, Chiappisi has learned much from her Dosher internship.
“My time at Dosher has been my favorite clinical rotation of the three I’ve experienced. I have learned a lot from the therapy staff here at Dosher Hospital,” she said. “I’ve had an opportunity to work with a variety of patients through my experience here, including wound patients, those with joint replacements and trauma and neurological patients. It’s so gratifying to work with a patient and see progress over time toward their rehabilitation and physical independence,” Chiappisi said.
According to Deslauriers, interns provide a valuable service to the Physical Therapy department and its patients.
“Our interns work with us day in and day out on the rehabilitation of our patients. Under our supervision, they have not only been able to observe orthopedists performing the most up-to-date surgical interventions, but have been given the opportunity to also provide the follow-up care for those surgeries using the most current guidelines.”
A physical therapy internship at Dosher Hospital is an unpaid experience, generally lasting from eight to 12 weeks in length. Interns are required to travel and move to the Southport area during their experience and cover their own living expenses during their internship. But the value of their time spent in Dosher’s Physical Therapy department far outweighs the cost. Some even benefit financially from their internships.
As a result of her recent Dosher PT internship, another Washington University in St. Louis student was recently awarded a scholarship as a direct result of her experience in physical therapy at Dosher. Geneva Kaplan, who interned from January to March of this year, received a $1,000 scholarship for excellence in clinical experience I and II. The scholarship, as well as her hands-on experience, will aid her as she works toward the completion of her degree.
In 2006 Dosher Memorial Hospital was chosen as Clinical Site of the Year for East Carolina University by the Carolina Clinical Education Consortium.
“At Dosher Memorial Hospital, we take the treatment of our physical therapy patients personally, and tend to become very close to them in the process of providing their therapy,” Delauriers said. “That dynamic is something you just can’t learn from a classroom or in a book. That’s the experience that can only be gained by serving as an intern.”