Skip to main content


It is 6:15 a.m. on a brisk, wintry Massachusetts morning. I am waiting in the well-lit parking lot of a plaza that hosts an outpatient physical therapy and wellness center. It is where I will be spending my next five hours with a new clinical instructor, a full schedule of patients, and a hope that I don't look foolish.

This is my second integrated clinical experience, a new model that my class is the pilot for in the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Mount Wachusett Community College. With the integrated experience, which accounts for a total of 40 clinical hours, 20 in our first fall semester and 20 in our first spring semester, we are able to dive into the world of physical therapy while concurrently learning a breadth of skills required to become a PTA. It gives students an opportunity to use what they have learned in the classroom in a real physical therapy setting as soon as they learn the ropes. Students get to observe, ask questions, interact with patients, and explore different settings right off the bat.

My first integrated clinical experience was in a public school system. A setting that I never even knew physical therapy existed in prior to starting the program. Now, I have the chance to explore a whole new setting: outpatient.

Log in or create a free account to keep reading.

Join APTA to get unlimited access to content.

You Might Also Like...


Fear Into Power: My COVID-19 Experience

Jul 07, 2020

Would I be able to keep my doors open? Keep paying my staff? How is this going to change my practice for the long haul?


Refocusing My Professional Why

Jun 29, 2020

I was reminded again why I wanted to do this: the people.


Being Myself

Jun 25, 2020

Being yourself means that you love who you are, you respect who you are, and you don’t let other people define who you are.