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EWU Partners with St. Luke’s to Provide Hands-on Experience in Rehabilitation

By Logan Stanley, Copy Editor

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A little less than two years after the project began, EWU will be partnering with St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute with the intent of offering students involvement and training in the field of rehabilitation.

“This allows students to actually have hands-on experience before they graduate,” Laureen O’Hanlon, dean of EWU’s College of Health Science and Public Health, said.

O’Hanlon said the clinic will provide EWU graduate students in the physical rehabilitation program with actual practice in the career they intend to enter. This will include students providing care at the clinic and getting acclimated to the clinic atmosphere.

The 5,400-square-foot physical and occupational therapy clinic is located on the second floor of the Spokane Teaching Health Clinic, at Riverpoint according to the press release from EWU Media Relations, “to begin, it will be staffed with three full-time St. Luke’s employees: admissions coordinator, physical therapist (PT) and occupational therapist (OT). A clinic observation room will allow EWU PT and OT students to observe treatment sessions without disrupting the delivery of patient care.”

It is a venture O’Hanlon said she values.

“This is how they do integrated clinical experience,” said O’Hanlon. “This is part of their classes. Right now, they have labs where they practice perhaps on each other and do exercises. But this way, they’ll get some of that experience with real patients which is really important for their learning.”

It will not be until summer when students begin at the clinic; physical therapy students will start in July and occupational students will start in August, as reported by Mike McLean of the Spokane Journal of Business.

What exactly is the difference between physical and occupational therapy? Physical therapists focus on individuals who have medical issues that limit their ability to move and perform daily activities, as stated on the American Physical Therapy Association homepage.

Occupational therapists focus on individuals with health issues, with an emphasis on improving quality of life through therapeutic use of everyday activities, according to the American Occupational Therapy Association.

The facility contains various rehabilitation equipment, most notably a new anti-gravity treadmill. St. Luke’s features an AlterG treadmill, which costs anywhere from $30,000 to $75,000. McLean said that St. Luke’s paid $60,000 for the device.

As well as there being a clinic for graduate students, the partnership with St. Luke’s will also be offering additional patient access to the clinic as there will be more staff on-hand.

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EWU Partners with St. Luke’s to Provide Hands-on Experience in Rehabilitation