Occupational and physical therapy students took their classroom learning outside during a community service project on Tuesday. During Wash and Roll, dozens of wheelchair users had their power chairs cleaned and serviced free-of-charge by students and faculty from Belmont’s Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy programs and local equipment dealers.
“This collaboration of physical therapy and occupational therapy was to get students involved in community service with an underserved population. Because once they get a wheelchair from insurance, they can get serviced once a year, but it is difficult to find place to get it done,” said Occupational Therapy Assistant Professor Teresa Plummer. “No one just cleans and services chairs, so families of people with medical disability have to do it on their own.”
The service is so rare that Barbara Pierce drove her husband, Marion, 90 miles from Winchester, Tenn. to Belmont’s campus to have his five-year-old wheelchair evaluated and cleaned.
Belmont University’s School of Physical Therapy and Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson’s Pi Beta Phi Rehabilitation Institute (PBPRI) have received accreditation from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) for their collaborative Neurological Physical Therapy Clinical Residency instituted last year.
The one-year residency is one of 23 programs of its kind in the United States to have achieved this status and is the only such program in Tennessee.
PBPRI is an outpatient interdisciplinary neurological rehabilitation program where physical therapists work in teams with colleagues in occupational therapy, speech-language pathology and social work to promote community re-entry and vocational and/or academic transitioning.
“Being the first neurological physical therapy residency program in Tennessee, we have the responsibility and the privilege to train the next generation of outstanding neurological clinical specialists,” said Lisa Haack, Neurological Clinical Residency director, a PBPRI clinical staff member in physical therapy and a neurologic specialist.
Academic Residency Director Renee Brown, professor of Physical Therapy at Belmont University, said completion of the credentialing process is an affirmation of the program’s commitment to its patients.
“We have had a long-standing working relationship with Vanderbilt and this new program is an extension of that partnership,” Brown said. “We look forward to continuing to collaborate to train the next generation of physical therapy providers in the area of neurologic rehabilitation.”
The Neurologic Physical Therapy Clinical Residency will be recognized during the Residency/Fellowship Career Development Reception at the 2014 Combined Sections Meeting hosted by the APTA.
“An important mission of both Belmont and Vanderbilt is to educate and train the next generation of leaders in health care,” said Mike de Riesthal, director of the PBPRI. “The success of the collaborative residency program is a perfect example of this mission in action.”
The Belmont University School of Physical Therapy was recognized as the “Outstanding Volunteer Group of the Year” at the annual Susan G. Komen Leadership Conference in Dallas, Texas last weekend. Susan G. Komen is a global leader in the fight against breast cancer with local affiliate offices in more than 120 locations in the U.S. and around the world. Each year the organization recognizes volunteers who demonstrate dedication, commitment, creativity, initiative and dependability.
The Belmont Physical Therapy students began their commitment to Susan G. Komen Greater Nashville two years ago when they volunteered as a group to manage the race course at the organization’s annual Susan G. Komen Nashville Race for the Cure® event. The Belmont students utilize this opportunity to enhance the school’s community involvement and establish teamwork within the physical therapy school.
Over 80 students participated the first year, but the school has created a continuous source of high quality volunteers by creating a kind of mentorship program. Once a student volunteers, she or he is expected to train, manage and support younger classmates through the volunteer process.
Belmont’s involvement with Komen goes beyond race day and beyond its students. Students assist with packet stuffing and other duties prior to the event and have also challenged other university schools to put together volunteer teams that can equal their impact. Belmont faculty members also serve on Komen Greater Nashville board of directors and race committee. Finally, several of the school’s athletics programs host Think Pink/Pink Out games each season to help raise needed awareness for breast health education in younger women and support those in the Belmont community affected by the disease.
“We are so proud that our volunteers were recognized as being the top in the country,” said Patty Harman, executive director of the Komen’s Greater Nashville Affiliate. “We know that our Race wouldn’t be the same without them and that they make such a huge impact year-round. We’re glad that everyone else now gets to see Belmont Physical Therapy as a benchmark for volunteerism.”
Kenisha Rhone, media relations director for Women’s Sports at Belmont accepted the award on behalf of the University. Rhone is an active volunteer for Komen Nashville and serves on the Race Coordinating Committee.
The Memorial Foundation has awarded Belmont University $300,000 to upgrade high-fidelity simulation equipment, support interprofessional training in the College of Health Sciences & Nursing and fund a post-graduate Healthcare Simulation Fellowship. Belmont has appointed Dr. Gwenn Randall as the college’s first fellow.
“We are grateful to the Memorial Foundation for this generous gift that will enable us to markedly increase the impact of our clinical simulation program. In addition to creating exciting new clinical experiences for both students and community providers, with this funding we will create new ways of educating future leaders in this emerging field,” said College of Health Sciences & Nursing Dean Cathy R. Taylor.
The University’s advanced patient simulators allow students to experience the health care profession’s daily challenges in a controlled environment. Computerized mannequins exhibit real patient symptoms and respond accordingly to treatment provided by caregivers, based on programmed scenarios. The use of simulation allows individuals preparing for health care professions to practice treatments and learn technique through simulation before treating actual patients. The University used a portion of the Memorial Foundation grant to purchase a highly specialized obstetrical mannequin that will be used to train nursing students and community partners to respond to high risk obstetric emergencies.
“A program in health care professional training in simulation meets a need in the industry, appeals to professionals who want a unique and growing career and is attractive to teaching institutions who want to become involved or expand simulation,” said Dr. Beth Hallmark, director of simulation. (more…)
Craig Becker, president of the Tennessee Hospital Association, spoke to Belmont faculty and students last week about the future of the healthcare industry, focusing his remarks on the new changes that will be brought about by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
While he realizes that the healthcare industry is about to undergo radical change, he does not fear those changes. “I really am an optimist,” he stated. “And I’m invigorated by chaos. Chaos brings change.”
In the past, he argued that the existing system was not perfect, that there were quality of care issues. The new legislation will force the industry to address these issues sooner rather than later. “Hospitals will be forced to look outside of their four walls.”
He predicts that within the next several years, Tennessee will see a significant decline in its number of hospitals. At present, there are 154 in the state of Tennessee; approximately, 70 to 77 of those are rural hospitals. Becker believes that in five to ten years, there will be only 90 hospitals statewide. Rural hospitals will have to actively seek partnerships with the larger organizations.
In many parts of the state, the rural hospitals are centers of community. Closing them poses a challenge as is it will draw a lot of community resistance, he explained. However, he believes that there is a silver lining. “With this change comes a move away from fee-for-service,” he said.