Clinical Rotation Series – Part 2 of 4

Year 2 – Outpatient Ortho – 12 weeks

My CI was the clinic director. She had specific programs for each body region including manual therapy (STM and joint mobilizations) and exercises. Every person with a shoulder problem got the same shoulder protocol and low back pain followed the same low back protocol. She had built a lot of rapport for her patients and it wasn’t until week 5 or 6 before she let me lead some patient cases. She had told me from the beginning that she usually only takes 3rd-year students and that I wasn’t ready. So the first half of the rotation was observation and documentation. I would scribe for her during her treatments/evaluations. 


And when I tried to do something out of the protocol, she’d let me try it but then she’d recommend something that she’d normally do. So I learned early that it’s better to do it her way. And that’s okay.

She had been working for almost 10 years and I didn’t want to disrupt her groove. 


What I valued most about her was her ability to market to doctors. She had time blocked out of her schedule to deliver goodies to doctors’ offices and make an appearance. One time, I attended a lunch meeting that she scheduled with a doctor’s office and staff. She so easily made friends with the staff and started recommending bachelorette locations in Vegas for one of the nurses. On the car ride back to the office, I remember her saying something along the lines of,

“We don’t need to talk about physical therapy. They know what we do. But they won’t easily forget that conversation about Vegas.”

This is true. The marketing lunches between PT offices may blur together but she used casual/easy conversation that was memorable to stand out.


I’ve done marketing meetings with MDs in my outpatient PT job and if I’m leading the lunch, I tend to take her approach. I would rather connect with the doctor by sharing more about me as a person and my values and vice versa.


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