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HCE as Rehab Aide (outpatient facility)


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Hello, everyone. 

 

For a rehab aide position, I've read that working at inpatient facilities is a lot better experience in terms of what you're exposed to, but I'm wondering if there are many successful PAs out there who had prior experience working as an aide at an outpatient facility?

 

I'm going to interview for a rehab aide position tomorrow, and the job description is:

 

"Work with PTs to coordinate patient care - observe, monitor, document treatments and exercise regimens. Work directly with patients. Some front office work, light typing, transcribing, filing, phones. "

 

It doesn't sound very much hand-on, and I'm going to ask more about it during the interview, but I'm just curious about others' thoughts and/or experience. The facility also offers occupational therapy, hand therapy, and vestibular rehab therapy if that makes a difference.

 

Random edit: Who is this mablebraf person? I see him/her liking posts everywhere on the forum, but when I click on the name it leads to an "error this member is no longer active"  profile. It's like a ghost only I can see.

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Only a pre-pa here.

 

I interviewed for a rehab aide position last year and did not like the fact that it was not very hands-on. The PT I was going to work with (who also conducts the interviews and hiring) asked general questions like, strengths/weaknesses, talk about a time you were really pushed for time/stressed but succeeded in the end, purpose for pursuing this position (DO NOT mention anything about being a PA) - they rather PT/PTA/OT/OTA students, what are your expectations from the staff etc. 

  • When I was asked what my end goal was, I simply said to pursue graduate school but I am keeping an open mind to the field of interest. 
  • I was not chosen, but it all worked out for me in the end.
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I have over 3,000 hours of experience as a Rehab Aide in an inpatient/acute care setting but have also volunteered in outpatient facilities as an Aide and I can assure you that it won't be very hands-on in the outpatient setting. Depending on the facility, you will be asked to sanitize all patient areas before and after every appointment (which is usually every hour). You will be asked to organize and sanitize equipment for patients and you may have to fetch them heating pads, ice pads or stem units so that the therapists can apply them to the patients. The entire pace of outpatient is slow and mundane so you will eventually grow bored unless that is what you are wanting to do.

 

Once I got to the hospital setting, it was completely different. I was exposed to a diverse patient population and was granted much more responsibility. My department found me proficient and trustworthy so I was able to transfer patients to and from the bed on my own, perform range of motion exercises and I became essential to our low-level patient population (burn unit, ICE, CCU, etc).

 

I highly recommend to seek an inpatient or acute care position if you are going the Rehab Aide route.

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I worked as an aide for a year but I am also a certified athletic trainer who has already rehabbed 100s of athletes.  It was more hands on for me than most other aides but I would just make sure you get as much hands on as you can, whenever  you can.  I will say that if this is your only HCE, even if it is acceptable by most programs, it will not help you a ton in PA school unless you really go out of your way to ask questions and understand the pathophys of all the injuries and diseases and how the procedures or surgeries they had worked, etc. I also told my employers that I was already an ATC and experienced with rehab with intentions on going to PA school within a year or two. They were fine with that and actually preferred Aides that wanted to do something else, not settle in and be a rehab aide for 15 years. Good luck with whatever you choose to do! 

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The interviewer told me it was 75% patient care (more like observing/teaching exercises) and  25% documenting and front office. The only literal "hands-on" part seemed to be applying ultrasound, heat-pack, cold-pack stuff. 

 

I appreciate all of your input, and will take them into consideration if the time comes to accept/reject the position. 

 

Side note: I ended up telling her I was working towards a career as a PA. She didn't seem phased and said another pre-PA interviewed with her, too! So it was all good.

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Sounds like the exact position I was in. I worked at an outpatient PT clinic all during my undergraduate coursework part time. It was great as a student because they offered night hours and were extremely flexible with my school schedule. 

 

That being said I will say it is what you make of it. With no certifications, previous degree, or any type of patient care experience, you will be hard pressed to find another position where you will be in direct contact with patients and have responsibilities. I found over my time working at the PT clinic that there were two type of aides, those who would ask questions, engage with patients, and everyday try to learn something new. There were also aides who would come in, do whatever the therapist told them, and leave. The single biggest asset from the job was not the actual job itself, but  the opportunity it gives you to interact with other health professionals. Sure you are limited in the actual "hands on" part, but as you gain experience and familiarity with the staff, they may allow you to perform other activities that are more direct in nature. 

 

My advice on if you take the position is to ask questions (when appropriate) for different conditions. Why are you administering heat rather than cold? Why did you change your manuals after 2 weeks of treatment? The PT's will usually be happy to answer and if you have a basic anatomy background, you can ask more in depth follow up questions which will help you cement your understanding of various healing processes for orthopedic, neurological, and vestibular pathologies. I learned a great deal of info and feel as though my background in orthopedics is rather solid due to my experiences at the PT clinic.

 

Is it the best experience? No. Is it the worst? No. If you have the ability to gain an EMT certification I would choose to go that route, but if you are in a position like I was, I was satisfied with my learning and ability to interact with patients.

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