Throughout the years, APT has taken pre-physical therapy major college students from UNC. During their affiliation we try to create an experience that fosters critical thinking, direct patient interaction and self reflection. One of our interns has written about her experiences at APT, she started volunteering with us in September of 2011 and will be applying to physical therapy programs in the fall of 2012. Here is what she has written:
I am currently a student at UNC and have been a volunteer at Advance Physical Therapy since September of 2011. The first thing I noticed about the practice was the relaxed and friendly atmosphere. The therapists are passionate about their work and genuinely invested in teaching students. They actively find opportunities for volunteers to observe, and afterwards they gladly answer questions and offer explanations for anything that needs clarification. I appreciate how the therapists at Advance PT also facilitate further investigation and research. I am motivated to understand why certain techniques work, how they work, and for what population they are used. Each week, I leave inspired to explore what I had observed. I am also required to journal about my observations each week, which is reviewed by a therapist and has been a useful tool for learning to clinically. Since starting as a volunteer, I have also noticed a shift in the way I think about the body. Anatomy, physiology and biomechanics courses are the essential backbone for a career in physical therapy, but they can’t substitute for witnessing, in person, the progression among patients week after week. It has demonstrated to me the interdependent nature of the body and the importance of critical thinking during evaluations. Additionally, Advance PT offers a variety of specialized techniques that volunteers are able to observe, which has help me form a clear idea of the type of therapy I would eventually like to specialize in.
I have really enjoyed volunteering at Advance PT, and each week I look forward to my time there. It has given me a chance to learn about things that I wouldn’t have learned in class. I admire the work that the therapists do for their patients and for their volunteers, as well as the philosophies that they teach. Overall, Advance Physical Therapy has given me a foundation for a future career as well as a greater awareness of my own body. It has been, in every aspect, the most positive volunteer experience I have had thus far as an undergraduate and aspiring physical therapist.
-Holli McClendon, Junior at UNC-Chapel Hill