Below is a copy of a letter that a recent student wrote in completion of her affiliation with our clinic. While I wouldn’t normally post something like this, I do feel that other physical therapists, strength coaches and personal trainers who work the way we do would have an appreciation as well as be excited to see that fighting the good fight is worth it.
For my first integrated clinical experience, I was at SPARK Physiotherapy in Alexandria, VA. My CI was Dr. Carlos Berio—a former graduate of Marymount University. SPARK is set up so that each physical therapist sees only one patient at a time for the entire hour. It was a different transition from the clinic that I worked at as an aide—each physical therapist would see 4-5 patients an hour and each PT had one aide assigned to them.
Seeing one patient an hour really allowed for a lot of one on one time between the patient and the physical therapist. Dr. Berio set up his clinic with the thought of bringing back quality of care to the patients and not worrying about the quantity of patients. Another part of SPARK was the personal training side—not only will Dr. Berio see physical therapy patient’s but will also see some patient’s for personal training. I really like his saying of “making people bullet proof” post injury.
I also got to observe the administrative side of a clinic. SPARK was in the process of moving to a bigger location. I got to see the floor plans and hear the reasoning behind the layout. As a small business owner, Dr. Berio not only had to worry about the patient care but also the inner workings of the clinic.
SPARK physiotherapy was a great location to see the performance side of physical therapy. As an athletic trainer, I have always enjoyed working with the athletic population. I have not seen a lot of the personal training side (as I’ve never used a personal trainer or done a lot of weight lifting) so it was great to have exposure to exercises I had never seen before. Some of the exercises included Russian dead lifts, Turkish get-ups, and clean and jerks. It was also great to have to be creative with the equipment in the room. There were not the usual weight machines in the gym but instead we would utilize theraband, kettlebells, and barbells.
Dr. Berio did a great job allowing me to get hands on experience even when I was a little unsure of what I was doing. He was always right there showing me different ways to do things and offering other advice. When we had down time, we would discuss articles, anatomy, or practice evaluation techniques. Overall, it was a great experience for learning, observing a small business, and seeing a different mentality towards patient care.
Thank you to the student. This is why we all volunteer in the advancement of our disciplines.