This past Friday was Emily’s white coat ceremony for Physical Therapy School.
“This is a ritual in physical therapy school that marks the student’s transition for the study of preclinical to clinical health sciences. this landmark ceremony involves a formal ‘robing’ or ‘cloaking’ of second year students in white coats, signifying their transition for the basic science and academic portion of their education to their clinical studies. Students receiving white coats in today’s ceremony have successfully completed foundational coursework, lab practical examinations and comprehensive examinations covering basic sciences, physical therapy management, research, and professionalism in anticipation of their upcoming clinical experiences in physical therapy practice settings across the nation. Every student in todays ceremony strives to embody the core values of Rockhurst University and the physical teary profession, including altruism, compassion and caring, integrity, excellence, professional duty, social responsibility, and active acceptance of responsibility for the diverse roles of a physical therapist (accountability).” Rockhurst University
I am not sure what I expected at the ceremony but it certainly wasn’t to be a blubbering mess. I found myself tearful on several occasions. Firstly, it reminded me of all those years ago (1986) when I received my cap from Debbie Dutton (a third year Deaconess student). I didn’t know any nurses who could have capped me but I picked her because I admired her so much and I could barely speak to her. I was very shy back then. This was a huge deal as well and after that we had to wear these crazy caps to clinical’s.
They had a speaker who had graduated from the physical therapy program twenty years ago. She was fantastic and when she spoke about how nervous she was when she first started clinical’s because she was going to be in charge of real patients and what if she missed something or killed someone. And it was at the moment i realized two things. Firstly, physical therapy is way more closely to nursing than I ever realized and secondly, new nurses also feel this way. Here lately at work we have had a fair amount of new nurses start on our floor. This caused me to remember my very first day of orientation which I have shared with some of the girls over the years. Anyway I was working at Deaconess on the renal, ENT, and GU floor. We walked into our patients room who had a laryngectomy and had a laryngectomy tube. This is similar to a trach but bigger. He happened to cough right as we walked in and out flew his tube and landed on the floor. I was thinking what the hell had I gotten myself into but my preceptor walked over and picked it up off the floor, rinsed it, stuck the obdurator back in and shoved it back in his neck as if it happened all the time. Later I would realize that was the only time that ever happened in the two years I worked there. Had my preceptor flipped out, I might have ended up a totally different nurse. So clinical instructors and preceptors are very important in shaping a future nurse or physical therapist. I do not precept new nurses because it makes me nervous and I do things my way which isn’t the best way to instruct new people. I am however a resource and will answer any question or show anyone how to do anything.
Next they did the blessing of the hands which I thought was wonderful and really wished nurses did this. Each student took oil and wrote the letters P on the palm of one hand and T on the other hand. It must have been super oily because the look on their faces was hysterical.
And after it was over I began to reflect on physical therapy because as a nurse they have always been a pain in our neck. They always call “can I work with your patient in room x”. I want to say don’t call me just do it but I am sure they are taught this way. They always seem to get the biggest patients up all by themselves and then they leave. It always takes five nurses to get them back to bed. If you don’t believe me and need a good laugh please click to view this PT vs Nursing. Emily and I watched it together a year or so ago and were laughing so hard we could barely breath. I really never recognized that they also have a healing touch. That they can seriously injure a patient just like a nurse. That they have to be mental therapists just like nurses because you just can’t teach a patient to walk again without learning a whole lot about his background and what kind of environment he comes from.
Mole moral ~ Perhaps those physical therapists with their gait belts permanently attached to them aren’t so bad after all. If they would only put the patients back to bed, life would be well PERFECT!