Clinicals vs. Classroom Learning

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What You Learn at Clinicals That You Won’t Learn in the Classroom

Danielle McClelland
Class of 2014, OTA Program

The history of the profession, notable therapists, theories, diseases, symptoms, treatment interventions… these are just some of the things we learn in the first 3 semesters of the OTA program.  These 3 semesters are spent in the classroom with peers who are all new at this… you can bond over not knowing answers, laugh when mistakes are made, and celebrate when concepts finally click.

Enter into clinicals and this all changes!  There is no one to laugh at your inside jokes, no one to confide in when your day is just not going as planned, and no one to cheer you on… this is when you learn to do all of these things for yourself.

My clinical experience has taught me as much about the OTA profession as it has about myself!  While the foundation of knowledge is present from classroom learning, it cannot prepare you for the real thing which why I am happy to have had the opportunity at MTC to be immersed in the profession as part of the program curriculum.

At my clinicals, I am learning to be confident in my technique and bedside manner.  I am learning that my strengths include the ability to build report quickly with the patients and that my weaknesses include managing my schedule during the day.  While under the instruction of my clinical instructors I am provided guidance to embrace and improve these findings, but I still hold the key to my success at integrating and being the best therapist I can be!

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