How PT Students Are Losing Out on Acute Care in Clinical Settings.

We all remember what it was like coming out of school and how difficult is was to find our first opportunity as a rehab professional. Just like any internship, your last year of school helped you not only receive hands-on interaction with patients, but also created a networking opportunity to potentially set up your first job.  Now, students, whose biggest desire are on-site clinicals in the Acute Care setting, may potentially have to learn everything necessary to be a therapist, via books due to new guidelines mandated by the APTA.

According to the APTA, PT students must be directly supervised by physical therapists when providing services to patients.  Direct supervision means that the PT is physically present and immediately available for direction and supervision; the PT must have direct contact with the patient during each visit (or daily contact for patients seen greater than once a day).  Telecommunication does not meet the requirement of direct supervision.  These guidelines state that they must be in line of site in order for Acute Care to be reimbursed for therapy.

Unfortunately, the Acute Care facilities are still struggling to see how a student helps the general day to day operations. In the past, the student would treat under limited to no supervision after the initial departmental policies and procedures were followed and reviewed. However, as a result of the guideline change, they have become a hindrance in most therapy departments because it limits productivity, doesn’t provide any added value, and the therapists don’t want a shadow they can’t walk away from.

This doesn’t bode well for students and it makes most rehab directors feel horrible, but it’s business. Often times, rehab directors find fault in guideline changes, however there is nothing they can do. Students now have to resort to their clinicals in outpatient settings, nursing homes, pediatric clinics to get experience. Even worse, without acute care clinical experience, their graduation is potentially postponed. This dilemma is now in the hands of the schools, who are presently charged with alternate means to create a positive learning experience for every student.

Here at Centra Healthcare Solutions, we have many rehab therapy positions just waiting for a skilled professional to fill them. Whether you’re looking for the excitement of a travel therapy job, the flexibility of temporary positions or if you desire a regular, full-time position, contact us today.

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