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


After reading your summary, I can totally agree with you on the fact that these clinics provide many benefits. I know that in the United States, health care charges can be extremely expensive. In fact, I find that these Pro-bono clinics are the perfect solution for people who are financially restricted since they are charge-free, as you were saying. They provide short-term advantages to both students and patients. Furthermore, I think this project will probably have also many positive long-term effects, since it effectively contributes to encourage and prepare students for their career. In fact, it would be amazing that such projects became renowned and took place here in Canada. Your summary is interesting and stands out by bringing a positive note into actuality. I really look forward learning more about this topic and see what will be the actual impacts on American society in the future.

In my opinion, this is a great idea! Since health is really expensive and not affordable for everyone in United States, these Pro-bono clinics have a lot of benefits! It helps students to learn more about work life and people who can not afford health treatments to be treat. I think that this project will only have good effect, on sort and long term! It would be great if this project could be done in other countries in the world, especially in poor countries, were health care is really needed.

When I was looking at nursing schools, one of my top choices was Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. They had all of the brand new toys for nursing students, but they also have a student run clinic which I was very impressed with and it made me really want to work there. I thought that it would be a wonderful experience to be in charge of patients, to make create their treatment plans, but also to have more responsibilities regarding how the clinic was actual run. Although you do make a good point of the skeptics saying that 'kids' won't be able to give the right amount or type of care because of their inexperience, you also said those who have nothing are grateful for any help that they are given and I agree with you. I would love to be a part of a clinic like this in the future because I think that the future of healthcare resides in the young students and what better way to learn and ensue confidence in the community than to actual treat patients. Thank you for pointing out this article, I hope it has opened some eyes to the capable abilities of young people within medicine.

About the author