Can Students Run a Clinic?
by eastr1 on October 22, 2013 - 12:09am
The main objective of this research "experiment" was to see how students (ages 22-36) running a Pro-bono physical therapy clinic would benefit. There were eighteen students who sat on a council, each with a specific position such as Student Schedulers and Community Relations. These eighteen students also treated the patients at the clinic, free of charge. The students had to do everything from fundraising, to creating treatment plans, to deciding how to spend money. What they found was that at the end they had a great sense of pride in the clinic and in themselves. They also gained an abundance of leadership, competency, and commitment throughout the experience. In conclusion, the experience was a very good one, with a lasting outcome. All the students and even the mentors said they gained from the opportunity.
This experiment was very interesting because it directly supports the conclusions drawn above, however it also supports conclusions related to the social structure of a physical therapy clinic. The students mentioned that they had to deal with adults not wanting to be helped by "kids." However, these adults did not have any other place to go due to insurance or financial restrictions. The patients faced a problem, either be examined and treated by budding therapists, or scrape together the money to go to a paid clinic. These were the minority, however. Most adults were welcome to the idea of a pro-bono treatment, and were reassured by the presence of older doctors. one student states, "I wouldn't mind coming back to help voltmteer because I think it is a good opportunity. And since we . . .started it, we know what works and what doesn't. ... I think it would be a good learning experience for me." I believe that according to the article, the benefits of participating in this experiment outweighed the negatives.
Black, J.D., Palombaro, K.M., & Dole, R. L. (2013). Student Experiences in Creating and Launching a Student-Led Physical Therapy Pro Bono Clinic: A Qualitative Investigation. Physical Therapy, 93(5), 637-648