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July 23, 2009

More About What I Learned From My Summer Job

I mentioned yesterday that I left my summer job with a reacquaintance about the kind of worker that I am. My summer mentor predicted that I would realize greater gains from my experience there than I could currently imagine. And she was correct. I could see the difference even before I left the job.

It started the third week of June when my mentor left for a week for a summer vacation. I had to help her replacement care for her patients. Luckily, because I was familiar with her patients and her protocols, I was able to take charge of certain responsibilities in her absence that the replacement therapists was not familiar with. Suddenly, I was in the role of knowing how it was done. I took the tack of, "don't worry about it, I will handle this part of the patient's care."

As I mentioned in my previous post, I like to be given a task and take ownership and responsibility for getting it done. By being in a position of "the expert," my confidence in my abilities grew. My mentor noticed the change immediately after her return. I was able to anticipate her needs before she needed to tell me.

I returned to school feeling confident about my experience from my summer job. I was more familiar with the workings of a PT out-patient office. I had a clear image of the big picture. This allowed me to see where my education was taking me rather than drowning in a sea of facts and busy work. Also, I was looking forward to a course in problem-based learning that I believe is more suited to my learning style.

I found a beautiful blurb in one of textbooks that described my learning style perfectly:

Intuitive/global learners: They tend to process information all at once, and learn best when information is personalized and presented in the context of practical, real-life examples. They may have difficulty in ordering steps and comprehending details.
O'Sullivan SB, Schmitz TJ. Physical Rehabilitation, 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: FA Davis; 2007;262.

Finally, someone has been able to crystalize how my brain works with both its advantages and its weaknesses.

Beside my new-found confidence, the contribution of my clinic experience is making to my classroom experiences better. I can actually visualize exercises that were done in the clinic and apply them to problems we are presented in class and lab. This is a boost to my classroom confidence which clears away the distracting concerns I have about my learning style.

Finally, I think my mentor was correct in that I learned more than I realized. Even just two weeks later I reaping unexpected benefits from my summer job. I believe more jewels will be uncovered, especially as I start my long-term clinical internships in February 2010.

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Posted by linda at July 23, 2009 7:09 AM

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