It is now October. To some, this means “sweater weather” or “pumpkin spiced lattes” or “All Hallows’ Eve”, but to me, it means I have been an orthopedic physical therapy resident for a little over two months now. Thus far, my time spent within the SLU-SSM Health Physical Therapy Orthopedic Residency Program has been all about progress and growth. Being a new graduate and transitioning from a student role to a role as an independent clinician can be intimidating, but fortunately for me, I have the support of the residency program.
My experience two months into the residency program has already provided me with various opportunities in and outside of the clinic. Currently, I am employed at the SSM Health Physical Therapy Outpatient Clinic in Edwardsville, IL where I treat a wide variety of patients with diverse orthopedic conditions. I not only treat patients, but I also participate in didactics coursework and assist with lab instruction within the SLU’s entry-level DPT program on a weekly basis. Other opportunities provided to me consists of participation in pro bono services to the Saint Louis community and attending seminars that has allowed me to gain further expert knowledge and network with other professionals within my profession.
Besides the opportunities above, one unique component that this program has to offer is the amount and level of mentoring that is provided. Unlike some residency programs, where they may have one or two available mentors, SLU-SSM Health has a multitude of clinical experts to serve as mentors. I have been lucky enough to have had four mentors thus far that have challenged my overall clinical reasoning in order to become more proficient and efficient.
Overall, I can’t say that my time spent within this program has been easy, but I can definitely say that it has been rewarding. In a short amount of time, my practice and professional career has already grown beyond where I believe I would have been able to reach by myself, and I am excited to see my continued growth throughout the remaining months in this program.