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The wellness practicum is a unique opportunity for first-year Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students. In this practicum, the DPT students are tasked with helping other healthcare providers stay healthy. The DPT program provides wellness assessments and training to Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing students. The DPT students give tips on the importance of movement, nutrition and sleep, as well as best practices and on-the-job safety strategies for posture and body mechanics.
DPT students also provide wellness assessments to University staff to help them set and achieve their goals related to physical health. This Wellness Movement initiative is now offered to the Mount community every summer.
“These programs were based on an experiential learning model that blends our whole body health and wellness curriculum with a service-based practical component,” says Debbie Lowe, PhD, director and chair of the DPT program. “Students learn practical skills by providing motivational interviewing, goal setting, physical wellness assessments and intervention strategies, based on individual needs of clients from the University community.”
Soon, DPT students will be instrumental in the health and safety of the Mount’s student athletes through athletic readiness screenings and injury tracking. The DPT group will design team-wide training/conditioning, as well as individual-specific interventions, to prevent future injury or to mitigate the effects of current or previous injuries.
The integration of the clinical practicum’s practical experiential learning component with department collaborations makes these wellness initiatives unique, says Dawn-Marie Ickes, assistant professor of physical therapy and wellness programming coordinator. “The idea is to build self-efficacy while learning about the needs of others within a given community by designing wellness-based interventions rooted in what is meaningful and necessary to that population.”