Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Dr. Andrew Elston, SLU-SSM Health Physical Therapy Orthopedic Resident, talks about the Residency Journey

Dr. Andrew Elston, SLU-SSM Health Physical Therapy Orthopedic Resident, talks about the Residency Journey
By Andrew Elston, PT, DPT (SLU Alum 2021)

For PT month... Though it has just begun, in such a short window of time I have already experienced many different relative avenues for growth in the profession of physical therapy. What makes this experience so special is the unique way the SLU SSM Health PT Residency Program is tailored to the resident's individual choices. In a stark contrast to formal PT graduate school this program provides you the learner with any and all opportunities you might wish to pursue during this year long process.  

The process begins just like that and the introspection needed in the beginning requires far more energy than anything I have experienced up unto this point. It's daunting to have to decide what path you may take, but that is what is enjoyable about it. You get to decide. You get to choose. You get to be the writer, editor, and publisher of the journey that is unfolding That is the fun part of the process, as during this short time it provides a lens to see yourself grow in many different ways as a professional, some in which 3 short months ago I wouldn't have even considered.  

 As my current journey begins my path draws me to the education side of things. The avenue of teaching has always been something that I've been drawn towards.  The SLU SSM Health PT Residency Program offered many opportunities to get involved in different aspects of higher education. As try to take hold of all these incredible situations I can't help but take a step back and look at things from a different perspective. To give reference I am a previous graduate from the SLU PT program and have had the privilege to come under the tutelage of many of the previous residents that come before me. Now I certainly cannot say I was the brightest student in my class but there is something mildly surreal about being able to see the full circle of the education process from the beginning as a freshman in college to your last years in graduate school and now onto teaching. What impresses me the most is the amount of thought and intention that goes into each and every decision made, even of the most minute details there are dozens of incredible minds constantly changing molding and modifying every aspect of the program to best fit the needs of the students. Being a part of something like that truly gives meaning and drive to what I'd like to pursue in my professional growth.  
Another facet of this program is the emphasis on clinical excellence, and provides you with the course work and training necessary for you to pursue that. One thing everyone starting in a field starts to realize is that what you learn in school only grazes the surface of what is potentially out there to pursue. What this Residency Program does provide -- diverse scope of educational material as possible, allowing you to view situations and treatment from the perspective of a variety of different schools of thought. The program also benefits from the ideas of my fellow resident colleagues, who all have a variety of different backgrounds when it comes to the schooling we all received. This allows for a diversity throughout the learning process of our didactic material which only incites a higher level of thinking an reasoning during these courses. Through this and the mentoring sessions each week I'm constantly being pushed to analyze and adapt my clinical reasoning during my treatments and evaluations, pushing me to be as well rounded of a clinician as possible.  

In conclusion, though residencies may not be every PT's primary choice once finishing school, my short experience with the SLU-SSM Health Physical Therapy Orthopedic Residency program has driven and pushed me in ways that I don't think I would of ever found on my own accord. I look forward to the challenges that I will face in the future and would encourage all PT's out there to challenge themselves and their knowledge base to be better more well-rounded clinicians 
For more information on the SLU-SSM Health Physical Therapy Orthopedic Residency Program, visit https://www.slu.edu/doisy/degrees/ssm-residency.php or contact the Residency Program Director, Dr. Chris Sebelski at chris.sebelski@health.slu.edu.

For more information on the SLU-SSM Health Physical Therapy Women's Health program, visit https://www.slu.edu/doisy/degrees/ssm-womens-health-residency.php or contact the Residency Program Director, Dr. Jill Imgarten at jimgarten@ssm-select.com OR the SLU Director of Residency Education, Dr. Chris Sebelski at chris.sebelski@health.slu.edu.

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