Yes, tough love is what comes to my mind when I look back on my Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency. I was nudged to get out of my comfort zone more than I would have liked. Life events threw me off course towards the end of the residency program. But I was constantly encouraged by my mentors to persist, work at my best level and produce only quality products. Looking back, I can confidently say that such guidance is provided only by mentors who care for and value you as a person.
I passed the NCS exam and I am celebrating! Following is a brief description of my journey preparing for the exam.
A little over two years ago, I was thrilled to have been selected in the Kaiser Permanente Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency Program at Redwood City, CA I was returning to clinical training and student life after being away from patient care for 13 years. So naturally I was anxious, a little scared but super excited about the opportunity to return to patient care.
During the residency year, I was fortunate to have different clinical mentors and rotate through different clinical settings in the Bay Area. Each mentor pushed me out of my comfort zone and imprinted the value of care. The mentoring process, though difficult at times (as I was resistant to changing some of my old ways) made me reflect on how and what I should do differently to improve patient care. I learned that sometimes, I have to be not just a therapist but a coach to my patients, encouraging them to improve general health and outlook towards exercises. I learned the importance of skilled interpretations, skilled care and coordination with other professionals.
As part of the residency, I attended webinars and on-site lectures conducted by the Neurologic Physical Therapy Professional Consortium. The consortium provided a comprehensive continuing education curriculum. In addition, Kaiser Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency had in-house lectures and labs covering other relevant contents – Differential Diagnosis, Neuroanatomy, Professional Issues, Teaching and Learning, Acute Care, Pediatrics, etc.
Three months prior to the exam, my two co-residents and I met weekly (either in person or via Skype) to discuss research articles and readings from the list provided by the APTA’s Neuro Section to prepare for the NCS exam. Over the one year of the residency, we three residents had become close friends, sharing our personal and professional struggles and achievements. Group studying not only helped us stay on task, we provided each other moral support and encouragement. Thank you Katie and Michael, we did it together!
Preparing for the NCS exam was a journey of about 18 months and I am glad I took this journey. Studying for the exam made me aware of many new concepts and trends in Neurologic Physical Therapy. I have made good friends and met good mentors along the way. Today, as I reflect, I feel a sense of gratitude for all the support provided by many individuals.