At the hospital where I’m shadowing, there are several Spanish-speaking patients who don’t speak English. Surprisingly, barely anyone on staff speaks Spanish except for one of the nurses’ aides. When he isn’t around to translate, the PTs and OTs are left to gesture wildly in the hopes that the patient can follow what they are trying to demonstrate. A few times I’ve been able to step in and translate for either party. I was a great Spanish student in high school, but am a little rusty since I haven’t practiced in about five years. Surprisingly, though it seems to be coming back. I’d love to be able to take a medical Spanish course at some point during PT school (this article points out that such courses are increasingly demand) and/or do a clinical internship in a Spanish speaking country. I traveled in Spain and Chile in high school and it would be great to have a chance to go back. Especially since it would mean I could improve my Spanish skills in a way that will help me be a better PT to my future Spanish-speaking patients.
Here’s a great New York Times blog post from a nurse about what it’s like to work in a field where you learn skills that must be practiced on real patients. She says, “We don’t usually tell patients when we are practicing on them because it makes them hesitant and nervous, but they often figure it out anyway.” I find it especially interesting since most people think I look younger than my age, and I know that many of my first patients will be wondering how they managed to get a high school student for a physical therapist. I guess that’s why being confident is so important!
I read an article earlier today about women choosing jobs with flexibility over jobs that make more money. While I won’t go into that issue, I thought it was interesting that Physical Therapy was listed as a field with lots of flexibility. It is true that often when I tell someone I want to be… Continue reading PT as a Flexible Field