A Glimpse at SPT Clinical Rotations 

Have you ever been curious about how clinical rotations work for student physical therapists?  Well, we got the inside scoop from one of our very own therapists at ARCH Physical Therapy.  Larry graduated from University of Michigan Flint in May of 2022 and was happy to share about his 3 clinical rotations.

Each PT school does their rotations a little differently than the next.  Some schools send their students to 3 rotations while others send them up to 5 rotations!  The duration of each clinical depends on the school too with ranges from 6 weeks to 12 weeks long.  Most schools require a number of different settings as well.  For instance, for all schools in Michigan, it is standard that their students complete at least one outpatient and one inpatient rotation.  Keep reading to hear about Larry’s experience in his 3 clinical rotations!

Rotation #1: 

The first rotation that Larry experienced was at an inpatient rehabilitation hospital in Saginaw, MI.  He worked mostly on the post operative orthopedic surgery floor- which means he saw lots and lots of joint replacements.  He said that his day to day consisted of doing patient rounds with his clinical instructor, completing medical record reviews, and educating patients on proper mobility techniques and assistive device use.  One aspect that he particularly liked was during rounds when he would see the importance of interdisciplinary teams in the hospital setting.  He would get to see nurses, case managers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and doctors all collaborate on one patient to prioritize their health and safety.  

Rotation #2: 

The second rotation that Larry went to was an outpatient orthopedic clinic in Denver, CO.  He worked with a pretty diverse athletic population ranging from joint replacements to NFL players.  He mentioned that he did treat quite a few post surgical knees (meniscus and MCL tears) due to skiing accidents.  When he first started he only had a few patients each day; but by the end of his 10 weeks there he was able to take over all of his CI’s patient load for them!  

Rotation #3:

Larry’s third and final clinical was a 10 week rotation at an outpatient sports medicine clinic in Colorado Springs, CO.  Here he treated professional boxers, football players, and even Olympic figure skaters!  Though generally the concepts were the same as his previous clinical rotation, Larry said that this one was a little bit more intense.  The therapists there typically worked entirely one on one for an hour or more with the patients and had created very specific and intricate treatment plans. He also got to see dry needling, a unique technique for pain relief that physical therapists can specialize in.