Thursday, September 14, 2017

SLU PT Student Discovers Opportunities Through Collaborative Health Care in Jamaica

Service Trip Spotlight - Jamaica
by Bailey Flynn (DPT Class of 2019)

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to spend ten days in Jamaica participating in an intensive physical therapy camp benefiting individuals who had recently suffered from strokes. I was paired with another PT student from a different university and together we created and implemented an individualized treatment plan for our patient in collaboration with experienced clinicians. Treatment days consisted of various stations focusing on improving proprioception, gait, and strength along with some group activities and home visits. I got to practice my clinical reasoning and other skills I had learned in my PY1 year, in addition to learning techniques or other interventions that I had not previously been exposed to.
This experience, though, did not come without its challenges. There were points during the week where I doubted my abilities to really make an impact, as I was the least experienced student since others were at least PY2s. However, through collaborative efforts and conversations with both other students and clinicians, I was able to quiet those doubts and focus on what I could contribute which ended up being more than I thought. Regardless of experience level, students or clinicians all have different perspectives to bring to the table, which when shared ultimately leads to better patient care.
The most rewarding part of this experience was seeing the progression of our patient. After just a week and a half, these improvements in not only our patient but also all the patients attending the camp were incredible, and I feel fortunate to have shared in that experience. I would 100% recommend that other PT students go on an international clinical experience. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and gave me the opportunity to rise to new challenges while getting to collaborate with students and clinicians from all over the country. I hope you all have the chance to take part in some kind of international experience because I know my own experience in Jamaica changed the way I look at my future in physical therapy, and it might just change how you, too, see your role in this world.

To learn more about the stroke camp, visit their website:

This is one of a series of posts by the Saint Louis University Program in Physical Therapy students who have participated in service trips. Service is an integral part of the Saint Louis University experience. SLU  is currently #4 on Washington Monthly’s list of universities who participate most in community service. To learn more about service at SLU, visit the Center for Service and Community Engagement website at