Kelsey Mims, D.P.T.’12, and Kelan Krohe, D.P.T.’13, have been friends since their kindergarten days in Davenport, IA. She encouraged him to follow her to DMU’s doctor of physical therapy program. In March, they enjoyed another learning experience – a medical rotation on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia.
Mims had participated in a similar rotation as a DMU student in 2012; this time, she was a clinical instructor.
“The first time I went, it was so fast-paced, almost like a whirlwind,” says Mims, a physical therapist with Benchmark Physical Therapy in Atlanta. “This time it was more relaxing because I knew what to expect.”
“When I went back to St. Lucia, it was almost like walking back into a family,” says Kelsey Mims, D.P.T.’12. “I would highly recommend the experience to other alumni.”
During the rotation, Mims, Krohe and his classmate Chelsey Mitchener, D.P.T.’14, treated patients in the outpatient clinic, acute care and intensive care units of St. Jude Hospital, located in a soccer stadium after a fire destroyed the facility in 2009. They also visited a skilled nursing facility and provided home visits. As they educated patients and staff on topics like posture, passive range of motion and ambulation guidelines, they learned a great deal themselves.
“Working not only with my clinical instructors but with the therapists at the facility was rewarding in itself,” says Krohe. “I was able to learn not only through my experiences, but through their experiences and guidance.”
Working in a different culture and health care system, overcoming language barriers and treating patients in an environment with somewhat limited resources made their experience both challenging and enlightening, Krohe and Mims agree.
“The people in St. Lucia are very soft-spoken, so I advised students to make sure they take the time to listen, ask questions and be very specific and detailed in taking the patient’s history,” Mims says. “We educated patients on therapies they could do at home. Not having all the resources we have in the States makes you creative and resourceful and very efficient.”
Interacting with patients was the best aspect of the experience, Krohe adds. “The appreciation coming from the patients was incredibly rewarding,” he says.