VISION: PT, OT students run New Haven Clinic

By on February 20, 2013

Quinnipiac physical therapy and occupational therapy students are putting their learning into practice by running a clinic on the North Haven campus.

Volunteers in Service Impacting Our Neighborhood, or VISION, is a student-run clinic in Building One on the North Haven campus. Student occupational and physical therapists treat local residents on Tuesdays, usually between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

All of the students that work at VISION are volunteers that work in teams of four. There is an application process to volunteer at the clinic each year. Graduate OT and PT students, as well as senior undergraduates, can apply.

Kimberly Barile, a fifth-year physical therapy major, said, the most appealing aspect of VISION was the ability to “get experience with students in different majors.”

Senior occupational therapy major Samantha Stern is an OT co-director of VISION.

“It’s a lot of confidence building for students, honestly,” Stern said. “We learn all this stuff and it’s one thing to take a test and another to be able to actually go out and do it.”

The patients that go to VISION generally have no health insurance and are able to receive their medical treatment for free through VISION. The most common health problems the volunteers at VISION see are lower back pain and muscular or skeletal issues. Stern hopes the students will get the experience of treating more patients with other health issues, such as a stroke in the future.

Barile said the clinic will be implementing some new changes to try and get more patients in the clinic. One of these changes include accepting referrals from nearby clinics, she said.

Although the clinic is completely run by students, professors act as advisors at the clinic. Students are working under the overseeing professor’s license, according to Stern.

“For the first time, most students are probably learning alongside with their teachers,” Barile said. “When we go out on our clinicals … our teachers aren’t there. We just need our teachers there to guide us.”

Since many of the patients only speak Spanish, there are also student translators who work at the clinic.

“It’s great to see students care about those other than themselves to help someone in need,” freshman Christian Otterman said. “[The experience] will carry over with them for the rest of their lives. I hope this will be an example that more people will follow.”

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