On October 20, 2020, the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research (FPTR) hosted “Balancing the Demands of Clinicals During a Pandemic” – the second of several live events planned for the 2020-2021 VCU-Marquette Challenge. The VCU-Marquette Challenge is an annual student-led initiative that connects physical therapist and physical therapist assistant students across the United States in raising funds for physical therapy research.
Tara Jo Manal PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, FAPTA, the Director of Clinical Services & Residency Training at the University of Delaware was the guest speaker. University of Delaware students Chantel Hardy, SPT, and Kiersten McCartney, SPT, also offered first-person accounts of their experiences in navigating clinicals amid COVID-related closures and safety measures.
Although the pandemic has created challenges for students and faculty alike, the presentation highlighted many unexpected positives to emerge from the adjustments in training – including the ability to pause recorded videos for discussion and the ability to see patients in their home environment during telehealth sessions. Manal also offered words of encouragement for those students who worry that they will have trouble finding a job having completed clinicals under such unusual circumstances. Manal noted that potential employers will understand that students adjusting to the needs brought about by COVID show a great ability to pivot and adapt to change.
The University of Delaware is also the host of the UD Pie Time fundraiser – an event in which students, faculty, and alumni make donations to determine which members of the UD physical therapy department get pie’d.