We survived our first biomechanics practical!


It was nerve-wracking! It dealt with everything from range of motion to manual muscle testing and more. Our patient was an older woman with severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in a wheelchair. The ends of her hands were essentially moosh (I like to use such professional terminology). It was startling and disturbing to see how much RA can ravage your body! She was very nice though, even though she must have been in a lot of pain.

I thought I was going to pee my pants or throw up I was so nervous, before I went in to do my parts with the lady, but it went okay. I did some fumbling and missed a few things, but overall the professor didn’t seem too disturbed. I didn’t like, trip on the patient or make her cry or anything so I guess that is a start! We were graded on things like comfort of subject/self, positioning, goniometer accuracy, etc.

I think the practical is good practice but it was SCARY! It wore me out! I came home and took a long nap with a bad headache! I do appreciate the professor setting up a real patient, though. That’s extra work for him! It’s very different when you just practice on your classmates because it’s obviously unlikely you will encounter classmates with severe arthritis, contractures or limitations. Plus your classmates are learning the same things and so they kind of know how to position their body to help you with your task. I think the best thing to do is learn with your classmates initially in the lab, then go find some friends/family that have no knowledge of therapy. Then practice on them. You’ll get a much better sense of what you need to say when you practice with someone who has no idea what you want them to do. For example, you can say to your classmate – okay, abduct your shoulder and externally rotate it. Even if you try to use patient-talk and fumble with the explanation, they’ll still do what they know you need them to do. If you practice with your friends/family, you don’t get that luxury because they don’ t know what you mean, and that is actually a good thing. There is a family here in town that has kind of “adopted” me, so I practice on them. It helped a little with my confidence and also my understanding, although it’s still easy to forget things. It looks so easy when your professor demonstrates how to do things, but then it’s your turn and you’re like wait, where do I put my hands again? It’s also kind of hard to explain to your patient how to move their body, because you have learned all the formal words like supination and abduction, which are words you can’t use with them!

Oh the trials and tribulations of OT school! Just kidding! It’s great, but I am glad the day is over.

Apr 26, 2007 | Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 1

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