Service-Learning in Physical Therapy

By Ashlee Folkes

SL picService-Learning is a great opportunity to take learning beyond the classroom. I took a Service-Learning class my freshman year and it is still one of my favorite classes thus far. Therefore, I am excited to be able to take part in another Service-Learning class. Service-Learning is a chance to see real life applications of course material and to be a teacher of that material. I found that by teaching what I was learning, I established a more clear and comprehensive understanding of the information. I believe that incorporating Service-Learning into the Physical Therapy curriculum is important, because it allows us to interact with and help out with a particular patient population. Our careers focus on working with people so any experience related to assisting people will only push us in a positive direction. For me, I am using my service as a means of working with a new age range of people. My co-op and a lot of my volunteer experience focused on pediatric patients. I love being with kids, but I wanted to use this class to experience a geriatric population in order to have an appreciation for the different sectors of Physical Therapy. My service will be leading a fitness class for elderly individuals and people with disabilities that live in a community residence building. After visiting the site, I realize the importance of utilizing my leadership and problem-solving abilities throughout my service. Some of the residents do not speak English and I will be working with a varied population with limited financial resources. Therefore, I hope to establish a fun and creative routine for the residents with what resources are available. I have limited experience in geriatrics and hope to gain more knowledge on how to best interact and assist elderly individuals. With this opportunity, I may learn whether or not this is a direction to take my career. I am looking forward to beginning my service and wish to make a positive impact on the residents I will lead. I believe it will be a great opportunity that will highlight the key aspects of the course in a real setting.

Ashlee Folkes is a Physical Therapist student in the Bouve College of Health Sciences. She is enrolled in Psychosocial Aspects of Healthcare Seminar.

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