Seniors earn golden opportunity working in rehab field

SMART Clinical

Daisy Schurer helped diagnose dancer injuries at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. Caroline Curry led patients through their exercises at Precision Physical Therapy and Performance. And everyone Alex Dietrich met was shocked to learn he wasn’t a college intern at Physical Rehab Services.

Sure, they’re still in high school.

They just happen to be prepared for what comes next in college and their careers after three years of attending A.W. Beattie for Sports Medicine.

“The things I learned and experienced here at Beattie transferred well into the real word rehab setting, especially because of knowledge I gained from a physical therapist in class and got hands-on learning experience in our gym with classmates,” Caroline said.

Daisy, Caroline and Alex qualified for clinical work experiences, which spanned six weeks, in place of class time for two to three days per week.

Alex Dietrich

If anyone is injured on North Hills’ baseball team, everyone looks to Alex for answers.

“It’s funny,” Alex said. “They always yell ‘Dr. Dietrich, go get him,’ and everyone gets a good laugh.”

Alex, a North Hills senior who will attend Waynesburg University, partially dislocated his kneecap several years ago, and there was a silver lining.

He gained an interest in physical therapy.

Working alongside physical therapist Bill Butch, his responsibilities expanded during his clinical experience.

“I did a lot like making hot packs, ice packs, setting up equipment, assisting in on evaluations, filling out charts, and it was all interesting in its own way, especially to see how you can really help somebody and get them back to everyday life functions,” Alex said. “I definitely saw a lot of positive progression and how everyone heals differently.”

“A lot of people were surprised about where I went to school,” he added. “They weren’t expecting that I am a Beattie student, and they were surprised with how much I already knew and could do. A lot of people don’t realize how much is offered there and how great of a learning experience it is. If you kind of know what you want to do, you’ll get a lot out of it and you won’t regret going there.

Caroline Curry

Caroline, a Pine-Richland senior, plans to attend Slippery Rock to study Exercise Science on a pre-Physical Therapy Track. 

Precision Physical Therapy and Performance gave her an authentic opportunity to do everything from interacting with patients on the phone and assisting them in their rehab regimen to sanitizing treatment areas and doing laundry, all part of the daily tasks in a physical therapist’s office.

“During my clinical, one thing that was different was the fact that I was working with patients that I didn’t know opposed to working with peers my age in class,” Caroline said. “This really gave me the experience to see what it will be like one day in the real world when I will be working in the rehab setting by myself.”

Daisy Schurer

Daisy Schurer is a dancer, so the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater was the perfect fit for her.

Surrounded by professional performers, she often was one of the first to observe an injury.

“I really liked seeing all the injuries,” Daisy said. “There was one dancer who sprained her ankle, and you could see all the swelling, the purple, black and blue and it was interesting to see the process for her recovery.”

Dancers with injuries or soreness, Daisy said, were receptive to her.

“Everyone was really open and nice, and they were happy to have me be a part of the process,” Daisy said. “Of course, it takes practice to diagnose and treat, but it’s a lot easier if they give you detailed information. One dancer felt pain in their back, so I had them describe it to me. I understood a lot of the injuries, so I knew it was either a sprain in the gluteal or lower back muscle or a possible lumbar issue.”

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