By Kai Williams, Therapy Resource, Director of Keystone Therapy Student Programs

Passion for learning is an actionable term that many of our therapists and therapist assistants display throughout their day-to-day. This can be evident through your engagement in learning from others and teaching. Oftentimes, we have clinicians who shy away from accepting a therapy student due to fear of it affecting their productivity, or they may have insecurities in their ability to provide expert clinical training. From the perspective of many students, they truly value the time they are able to spend with clinicians. Didactic work only takes students so far; it is the true clinical experience that produces the confidence and backing of their clinical capabilities.

Keystone has developed a student program that not only provides students an opportunity to intern at our facilities, but also allows us to forge purposeful relationships with our local university and community college partners to aid in the enhancement of our profession. So far in 2019, Keystone has had a total of 58 students of a variety of disciplines and from a variety of academic institutions. Through the partnership of our Texas therapy programs, we have garnered a reputation of excellence. We have taken on a variety of clinical research studies to help look at ways to better serve our patients within the SNF setting. Some of those studies have included the effects of certain modalities and the impact it has on fall prevention, as well as the effectiveness of standardized assessments as predictors of outcome performance.

The skilled nursing setting offers exposure into post-acute care that some students often have a misconception about. Our clinicians have set the standard high, and each therapist/therapist assistant offers a level of rigor to their students, so once they complete their affiliation, they are better prepared for life as a licensed professional. Our utmost priority is to prepare the next generation of therapists/therapist assistants to enter our profession with readiness.

We also have received operational and clinical strength amplification from the time spent with interns, improving productivity for several therapists/assistants and creating a greater level of confidence in their patient care delivery and interaction with other colleagues. Through the Keystone student program, we have also had many of our students return and become employees within our organization. We’ve even had some that we met as students later become a staff therapist and then transition into the role of Director of Rehab. Talk about full circle!