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Boots on the Ground, Clinical Rotation Amid Pandemic

Boots on the Ground, Clinical Rotation Amid Pandemic

It’s no surprise that Orthotics and Prosthetics clinics across the country are changing their day-to-day operations while COVID-19 continues to affect the world. As a result, many educational programs are having to change the way students perform their clinical hours. Companies have reduced work force hours which has made it difficult for not only Orthotics and Prosthetics students, but Nursing, Physical and Occupational Therapy, and Dental Hygiene students when it comes to getting their required hours. IIOP’s twelve O&P Certificate students were in their second semester in the Spring when the pandemic forced them to switch to online learning. They adapted gracefully and finished their semester without missing a beat. Their challenge however, escalated when many of the O&P Clinics were not accepting students over the Summer. IIOP found a solution to their problem, working with one of the largest and busiest clinics nearby and one motivated Orlando native to fulfill the requirements for the entire class. IIOP asked Stan Patterson, CP and Founder of Prosthetics & Orthotics Associates (POA) to allow Orlando native Francesca Cicchetti to shadow his practitioners, speak to his patients, and ask questions, all the while Zoom video conferencing with her classmates and professors. Not two weeks later news got out to other schools that IIOP’s students were still getting their clinical exposure, and O&P programs from Alabama State University, Eastern Michigan University and Loma Linda University joined the call, bringing students together from across the country. Just like the O&P clinics must adapt to uncertain times, the schools must do their best to keep students on track. According to Francesca “- I know I can speak on behalf of my classmates when I say this – in the four short weeks at POA, the experiences we have had both in the clinic and in the lab have been invaluable and we are forever grateful for this opportunity.”