BY DAVID JAMES HEISS
It’s gratifying for Kiara Bobier to see clients’ improvements when they come to physiotherapy at Marketplace Physical Therapy in Beaumont.
Bobier is a senior at Beaumont High School, aspiring to one day become a nurse, although she has for some time expressed an interest in becoming a physical therapist, and seems delighted to have received an experience as an intern, which has been arranged in as part of the school’s career program. Department of Technical Education.
Therapists at the Marketplace Physical Therapy & Wellness Center at 1620 E. 2nd St. (Suite I) in Beaumont assigned her light duties while she performed her observations.
Bobier was assigned activities such as preparing clients for electronic stimulation sessions and occasional cleaning.
She hopes the University of California, Riverside, or California State University, San Bernardino, will accept her as a nursing student.
The collaboration is the result of extensive outreach to medical institutions during a pandemic to find organizations willing to allow students to gain real-world experience in person.
Only two offered to host students: Marketplace Physical Therapy and Rancho Paseo Medical Group, which came as a relief to Susan Aguilar-Martinez, Beaumont High School’s career readiness coordinator, who is in her first year in the position. .
“It was a brand new program, and everything had to be put together from scratch,” says Aguilar-Martinez. “By far the biggest challenge was this: even though many organizations wanted to partner with us, they were still not able to bring volunteers – especially students – to their places of work,” says She. “Medical organizations have largely worked under very tight restrictions, and I got a lot of ‘no’s at first. It almost looked like students wouldn’t be able to do their internships in person because of COVID. »
She credits Rancho Paseo Medical Group and Marketplace Physical Therapy for signing contracts “without hesitation.”
At Marketplace Physical Therapy, several therapists accompany Bobier while a journalist accompanies him to their place of work.
“I followed the staff and watched them” as they did their job, Bobier said. “I got to know some patients and watched their progress,” says Bobier.
Ezequiel Rivera, assistant physiotherapist, appreciates the helping hand.
“We’ve had a few rotational shadowing interns, although they’re usually physical therapy students” in college, Rivera says.
Additionally, “patients enjoy seeing young people here and are always willing to share their experience and stories with them, which adds an element of positivity and community connection,” Rivera adds.
Dr. Courtney Ellstrom, Clinic Director of Marketplace Physical Therapy, confirms, “This is the first time high school students” have participated in their location. “It was pretty cool to have them.”
Aguilar-Martinez has been sifting through exit surveys for students participating in internships and will use the information to “better communicate with future workcamps to give more specific job descriptions and tasks students may be required to perform.” .
Hopefully, she says, the experiences will lead to letters of recommendation for future jobs and college applications.
And, Aguilar-Martinez hopes, gives them life skills: “Maybe they learn to be part of a team, or learn to make decisions on the spot,” she says. “They will certainly benefit from hands-on experience working with patients, and perhaps develop communication skills through these interactions with patients and staff.”