Clinical Diversity is a Benefit in Rural Practice
Years spent studying the theory and practice of therapy, including clinical education and experiences with varied settings, diagnoses and specialties may have you eager to focus on a specialty after achieving your professional degree. The new therapy graduates we hire are highly-skilled, well-rounded professionals. Many desire to practice in a specialty that peaked their interest during clinical experiences. Before boxing yourself in to neurology, cardiopulmonary or another area, consider the benefits of continuing to practice as a generalist.
School prepares you to practice with a broad-based, thorough understanding of how to perform assessments and interventions on all types of patients. In a rural practice you’ll have opportunity to treat for almost all the diagnoses you’ve learned. Our rural settings provide supportive environments, and new graduates learn from mentors how to handle any nuances they didn’t encounter during clinical experiences.
For example, at one of our rural hospitals in Iowa, new graduates join a team that offers over 20 specialty programs to the community – Hand therapy, lymphedema, sports medicine, pediatrics, women’s health and more. Therapists have the opportunity to advance as the resident specialist for a singular program – be it lymphedema, aquatics, women’s health, etc.
Janelle S., OT is one of our therapists at this hospital. Janelle joined RehabVisions as a new graduate, and 18 years later is still enjoying the culture and opportunities she found in the rural setting.
“Practicing in a rural setting has been very rewarding. I can say that when I began my schooling to become an OT, I planned to be a pediatric therapist. While I still enjoy the time I spend with our pediatric clients, I can’t imagine what I would have missed or what clinical skills I would have neglected had I stayed that course. I have been involved in the development of multiple programs that I never knew existed until I began working with clients who had needs that required growth from myself, as well as programs that had always been an interest of mine. In working with our varied clientele in the rural setting, I can see them engaging in occupation in the community and know that that I’ve made a difference.”
The first few years after graduating you can either choose a “niche” specialty practice right away, or take the time needed to fully explore other specialties available to you, and identify opportunities to bring value and build programs within your current setting.