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Massage Today
July, 2007, Vol. 07, Issue 07

Massage School Student Clinics

By Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB

Dear Readers:

The last pathology column I wrote for Massage Today appeared in the March 2007 issue and dealt with a common non-contagious skin condition, eczema. Since then, I have had no urgent feedback about the series on skin rashes or any other conditions.

That leaves the floor open for other topics. I have chosen one near and dear to my heart: massage school student clinics.

Here's the situation: I have been in this profession long enough to remember when student clinics were a new idea. I watched schools adopt this concept with varying degrees of success. Since then, I have had the opportunity to talk with lots of people about how their school clinics run. I have seen examples of student clinics that were valuable learning opportunities and others that clearly were operating as "cash cows" for their schools.

Because my main focus is on pathology in the context of massage therapy, I have a special interest in public safety. Massage therapy students working in school clinics obviously have to be educated; not only in the modalities they offer, but also in the times and situations where certain modalities might be contraindicated. When I get letters from students about their clinic clients who are recent organ transplant recipients, or supplementing oxygen, or between cycles of radiation, and these students want advice and guidance about what their parameters should be, it makes me extremely frustrated.

So here is my challenge to you: Tell me what your student clinic experiences were like. Keep the location and name of your school private (this is not that kind of forum).

I'd love for you to answer some or all of these questions:

  • What did you learn about clients by working in your student clinic?
  • Between the student, the client and the school, whose needs were met most consistently?
  • Did you receive adequate supervision?
  • Did you feel you were working safely?
  • Do you feel your school's student clinic operates in competition with currently practicing nearby therapists?
  • What aspects of your clinic worked well for you? What did you love about clinic days?
  • What aspects of your clinic made you nuts? What did you hate about clinic days?
  • If you were king/queen of the world and could create your own ideal student clinic, what would it look like?

Over the next several weeks, I will take your input and run it by a few educators from around the country to see how their student clinics match up. I recognize that this is an experiment that might fail. I may get nothing but vague complaints or paeans of praise. But, I hope I get a lot of answers to the last question: What does the ideal student clinic look like? My job will be to distill your questions and comments and run them by other educators for our mutual benefit. So please get busy and write my column!


Click here for previous articles by Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB.

 

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