Career Connections

Danielle Retallick

Major: Kinesiology and Health

Minor/option/emphasis: KIN-Exercise ScienceSecondary minor: Child, Adult, and Family Services

Year: Senior
Hometown/State: Story City, Iowa

Type of experience: Internship
Company/Organization: Physiotherapy Associates
Company/Organization website:
Title: Physical Therapy Intern
Destination: Downtown Des Moines, Iowa
Timeframe: 1/9/2017 to 4/6/2017

Advisor/Coordinator Email:

I was responsible for...
Observation of physical therapy intervention/ evaluation, rapport building with patients, assist with the development of printed home exercise program material, observation of occupational therapy evaluation/ intervention, assist with clinic flow, participation in the delivery of modalities as allowed by law. They also have included small projects like reorganizing the cabinet where home exercise programs are kept and creating additional and improved home exercise plans as needed. I help to keep the workplace clean and comfortable for therapists and clients. I additionally helped with fileback and paperwork as the front desk needed.

I accomplished...
I was able to complete over 100 hours of observation of physical therapy treatment in addition to my duties as the physical therapy intern. I also was able to build rapport with many different patients who came into the clinic. Patients knew me by name and I understood their course of treatment, prognosis, and their progress. Patients enjoyed getting to know me just as I enjoyed getting to know them. This was an accomplishment for me because it was part of my goals to learn patient names and build a good rapport with most patients. In addition, I was able to create many new home exercise programs and I assisted in reorganizing their home exercise program file cabinet. This was an accomplishment because it helped to facilitate better clinic flow. I was able to complete over 50 hours of observation of occupational therapy treatment in addition to my duties as the physical therapy intern. Finally I assisted with clinic flow- greeting patients and preparing workspace. I would retrieve patients from the waiting room and help them begin their therapy session by getting equipment ready or walking them to their table. I assisted with cleaning tables and picking up equipment after it was done being used. By creating better home exercise program master copies, keeping copies in the filing cabinets, and reorganizing the home exercise filing cabinet I was able accomplish this goal of assisting with clinic flow.

My most valuable effort...
The most valuable project I worked on would have to be helping to reorganize the home exercise program file cabinet. This was valuable because it helped to increase productivity and ease of clinic flow with the therapists. It also helped clients to better understand what was asked of them as "homework" in order to aid in their own recovery and build strength to help them heal.

I learned...
The most valuable learning experience for me was learning that not one way will work when trying to explain an exercise, home exercise program, or healing technique for every client. It was great to get to watch multiple therapists with multiple teaching techniques help heal clients. This was the best part and the most valuable learning experience during my internship experience, I believe.

I will never forget...
The most memorable experience I have from my internship experience would have to be being able to build rapport with many different clients experiencing many different issues and who were seeking physical or occupational therapy for many different reasons. I enjoy getting to know people and talking with them so this was my favorite part of my internship.

A surprising discovery...
I didn't expect to not have not have as much to do as I did. I thought that I would have a list of things to accomplish throughout the semester and tasks to keep me busy. However, I had one big project and just a few smaller projects through the semester. This changed the manner in which I approached my profession simply in the way that I was able to see how busy and occupied the minds of therapists are. Physical therapists and occupational therapists are self motivated/ driven and want to do everything they can to help heal their clients. They complete tasks as they need and because of that there wasn't a list of things that needed to be done when I started my internship.

Advice for others...
My advice to other students who might follow in your footsteps would be do you research on every option for internships. Find a place that has a "motto" similar to yours. Make sure the place is passionate about the same things that you are passionate about. Understand what is important to you so that you can look for an internship who has the same things.

I first learned about this career-building experience from...
I learned about this opportunity via word of mouth. I completed another internship on my own time this past summer at Courage League Sports in Des Moines and the owner of that facility talked about Physiotherapy and the great facility they ran. I pursed this connection and opportunity.

I landed this assignment by...
I emailed the Center Manager of Physiotherapy Associate in Downtown Des Moines, Dr. Abby Gillard, and asked if she would be interested in having a intern this semester. After a few emails back and forth she decided that an intern would be helpful. We worked out the details and completed the paperwork in a timely manner.

I wanted this experience because...
I was interested in their sports medicine aspect and their open facility. They really work as a team in order to give clients the best therapy and best outlook they could. I wanted the opportunity to observe many therapies at one time and to help as many clients at one time as we could.

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