After having worked in a physical therapy clinic for going on 3 years and having seen multiple patients on countless occasions deny treatment from a student, I decided it was time to address the fear.
Don't get me wrong - I understand where it comes from.
You're not wrong to assume that students will make more mistakes than certified practitioners - but how else did your master surgeon or treating physical therapist get as good as they are? Someone let them practice.
Please understand the rules and regulations for students, under no circumstances, put our patients at a greater risk to land in harm's way.
Now, I can honestly say on behalf of our therapy staff here at CHAMPION, there's nothing a student will manually do here that they haven't practiced on their instructing therapist - your treating therapist. There's not a single exercise they'll give you without having consulted their instructing therapist, and your head therapist will always be in the room, able to watch and see you.
Remember: these students are not yet licensed. What does that mean for their instructing therapist? Each time a student works with a patient, it's on the instructing therapists' license. A single malpractice lawsuit could eradicate the chance of their instructing therapist being licensed for the rest of their lives; to me, that's a lot of trust in their student.
When a student starts to see you without their instructing therapist standing over their shoulder, what does that mean?
It means they were doing so well that their instructing therapist trusts them to work with a patient with whom they've worked before, without direct supervision. This isn't something that should concern you - it's something that should help you to trust them. If you trust your treating therapist and their sense of judgement as far as you and your injury, then you should trust that they wouldn't allow you to work with someone who couldn't effectively carry out your plan of care. And remember - even if they do seem "on their own", your head therapist will review how you did and what they want to do next with their student and help them to create the plan of care. They are by no means unsupervised.
We do preserve your right to minimize your time with students, if that's what you prefer. If you'd prefer to only be seen by a staff member, that will absolutely be arranged. This post by no means was intended to force patients to work with students - we want our patients to feel as comfortable with us as possible. Feel free to speak up should you have questions or concerns, and any changes will be handled immediately.