The time has finally come for me to begin my first clinic placement of graduate school. Today was the day, and, like most people, I was filled with a plethora of emotions-- excited, scared, nervous, inspired. How will I begin to build my clinical skills in just 15 short weeks? Will I show improvement by midterm? Will my supervisor like me? After all, my supervisor holds some of my clinical success in her hands (by grading me). Luckily, the first day went very well!
I should preface this by saying my program doesn't have a traditional on-site clinic. So, from day one, all of the students are out in the community. The first two semesters we go to our placement one day a week, and after that we go 4 days a week. This semester I'm placed at a medical daycare providing early intervention services to children aged 1-5 with medical comorbidities. This is actually right up my alley, as I've worked in a daycare for the past 7 or so years. So, I was (and still am) very excited to work in this part of the field.
Since this was my first day, I wasn't required to do any therapy. Instead, she let me watch her and occasionally jump in to try a technique or build rapport with the children. I liked this, as many of the children were still working on prelinguistic skills, which I had no idea how to treat. I was also able to see how a typical session is run (since these are all play-based) and see what she does in the case a child doesn't listen. (Seeing that they don't always listen to her also built my confidence, as I was -- and still am-- nervous about how to handle that.) The day was also spent getting to know the nurses and office staff, as well as getting acquainted with where materials were. This is especially important, since we will be providing feeding therapy to some children, so I have to know where the thickening agents are located.
Overall, it was a great day, and I'm a little less nervous to continue this semester. It'll definitely be a great experience since not many students get a chance to do early intervention or get experience with more medically fragile children. We'll see how the semester goes, though, especially since I will begin treating some children next week!