Exercise science students at Grace College are no longer learning about their desired careers in the classroom alone – they are also observing licensed professionals in action at Kosciusko Community Hospital (KCH) in Warsaw, Ind. A new partnership between Grace and KCH allows students studying to be physical therapists, occupational therapists, athletic trainers and more to go on rotation at the hospital every week to see what working in their chosen field is really like.
Program Director Christina Walters pursued the partnership with KCH out of a desire to provide practical, career preparation for her students. “Our goal is to get exercise science students into medical rotations and observation to expose them to the work they will encounter in their future careers,” Walters said. “I find that more than anything else, the clinical experience either solidifies a student’s professional path or reveals a different direction to them. Both outcomes are incredibly valuable and really, irreplaceable in a student’s education,” she said.
A practicum class is required for graduation from the exercise science program at Grace College. Students enrolled in this class now spend five hours per week on rotation at KCH, for a total of 80 clinical hours during the semester. Students observe professional providers in their work environment, ask questions about the services they provide patients and learn by seeing therapy performed in real time.
“KCH is very happy to partner with Grace College in this way,” said Megan Farver, community outreach coordinator at Kosciusko Community Hospital. “We believe there is great value in students experiencing real-life clinical scenarios. Whether that be a patient receiving physical therapy for an injured joint or someone with a sports injury seeing an athletic trainer, or many other scenarios, the opportunity to witness how the professional handles the situation is invaluable.”
Farver also noted the rapport developed between professionals and students. “Our staff enjoy the opportunity to interact with and mentor students in the program. Hopefully, students complete their rotations with more clarity on the trajectory of their careers,” she said.
Grace College Provost Dr. John Lillis, commented, “KCH is a very well-respected health care provider in our area. Their willingness to receive our students and participate in their learning is a real credit to their organization. We consider KCH a vital partner in our pursuit to train the next generation of quality health care providers at Grace College.”
To read more about the exercise science program at Grace College, please visit here. For questions or additional information, please contact Prof. Christina Walters firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-372-5100, ext. 6276.