Kylee Barshinger – Physical Therapy Intern
Hello, my name is Kylee Barshinger. I am a senior at Garden Spot High School and am interning at NovaCare Rehabilitation in New Holland, Pennsylvania this semester. I have learned so much through this experience and it has helped with planning out my future career goals. Through this amazing experience, I have learned that I want to go into this field or a similar one. I am still undecided if I would like to go into physical therapy or sports medicine. I am also not set on one position in either field yet, regarding setting and age group. I enjoy the more “laid back” atmosphere of an outpatient clinical setting, but I also think I would enjoy working in a pediatric hospital. I love working with children, but I have also learned, through this internship, that adults can be just as fun to work with. I enjoy working with patients, creating relationships with them, and helping others through something I love: exercise. Each day I walk in ready to learn more about a field that I am interested in from an amazing group of therapists that are eager to answer any questions I may have.
I go to my internship at NovaCare Rehabilitation Monday through Thursday for one to two hours each day. When I arrive each day, I will start by cleaning off the machines and equipment around the gym, such as the exercise bike, treadmill, hand bike, parallel bars, and more. I will then gather any used rags or random equipment around the gym and put it away. Next, I will either have conversations with some of the patients or catch up with my mentor, Janelle Sevilla, and talk to her about what the day will look like. I will observe and take notice of how Janelle and the other therapists work with the patients. Sometimes I will be given the opportunity to walk patients through their next exercise and explain to them how to do it. I will also often be asked to hang out with a patient until the therapist is able to attend to them. Depending on the patient, they may receive heat and stim, which is typically at the end of their appointment. I will gather the hot packs, stim machine, and stim pads for the Physical Therapist or Physical Therapist Assistant to apply to the patient. Once their timer goes off, I can remove the heat and stim from the patient and send them on their way for the rest of the day. Another task I have daily is gathering any equipment that the clinicians might need to use with their patients. This includes ankle weights, bands, balls, etc. Another treatment I have gotten to experience is water therapy. Certain patients will do their exercises in the water for multiple reasons including lack of strength, buoyancy of the water, and easier muscle movement through the heat of the water.
A big part of my internship is observing how the physical therapists and physical therapist assistants work with patients, the exercises they give, and why those exercises are helping the patient. I often take time to watch the therapists and how they interact with the patients. I have also picked up on certain exercises that are used in specific cases. For example, therapists will often have patients who are working on a knee replacement do a sit to stand exercise to work on getting their knee to bend and practicing a motion they will use daily. My mentor, Janelle Sevilla, will also explain different injuries of patients to me, and why certain exercises will benefit those patients. Through this experience, I have learned more about human anatomy, injuries/procedures, and exercises that can help to improve strength, range of motion, and pain.
I have grown greatly from this internship and I am glad I was given the opportunity to be able to get experience in the workforce before college. This experience has opened my eyes to what a career in physical therapy really looks like. I have gotten to see the pros and cons of working in a physical therapy outpatient clinic. I have enjoyed my internship and the experience and knowledge I am gaining from it. I have also gotten the chance to work with some amazing professionals who have impacted my future career goals in a positive way. One big lesson I have learned through this internship is how to talk to adults and people older than me. This has given me the opportunity to create relationships with adults who have aided my social skills that will be very beneficial later in life. Through my internship, I have gained more preparation for college and beyond. Thank you NovaCare Rehabilitation for giving me this amazing experience and being so kind and welcoming to me everyday.