An outline of what to expect, meeting my classmates and getting familiar with technology again
By David Charland, August 2015
My initial impression when I applied to the transitional doctoral program for physical therapy (tDPT) at Utica College was fear and apprehension. The 3 day residency course secured my feelings and confirmed the importance of advancing my knowledge through the doctoral program. The 3 days were filled with information that was overwhelming yet applicable, providing ideas and concepts only to be appreciated in future classes.
Day 1 identified the commitment required to meet the scheduling demands in order to achieve success and graduate. The commitment not only comes from the student, it also comes from family and friends. Each class is driven by weekly assignments, readings and occasional papers. Every Friday you receive an assignment that is due the following Tuesday with follow up responses on Wednesday and Thursday.
Day 2 of presentations was more about getting to know my classmates, which put me more at ease. I discussed the process with several staff members and found them to be encouraging and supportive with realistic and practical answers. The instructors stressed the curriculum's demands and finding life balance to maintain a healthy lifestyle, ensuring school does not consume every moment.
Day 3 we discussed the computer system, connections, databases, identified ways to investigate research and navigated around the school website to get comfortable with where things were located. It was information overload. I probably only took in half of what I needed because of the newness to the sites and systems. I also was introduced to a newer version of office which created an additional learning curve. The computer technology required was a bit of a surprise. It relied on some inherent knowledge getting around the World Wide Web which was not a very strong area for me.
After the 3 days of residency I felt prepared, still apprehensive with respect to the course works demands and the ability to perform. Returning to extensive studying was going to be challenging, however choosing to pursue my tDPT degree and knowing what is needed to remain competitive with those that are leading the changes in the APTA was necessary. I knew getting through this program would bring me closer to helping our profession gain respect.
About the Author
David Charland has been working in the physical therapy field for over 25 years with a background in athletic training, nutrition, massage therapy, neural tension and manual therapy. He currently works for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Florida and performs physical therapy over clinical video technology, as well as in person, which allows him to utilize his communication and teaching skills in a variety of ways. He is married and has a golden doodle (dog) that fills his heart with joy.