What is the clinical affiliation schedule?

Each student will participate in a short term (2 week) clinical experience at the end of the 3rd, 4th and 5th semesters. The first will be in conjunction with the General Medical Conditions course, and the latter two with the Musculoskeletal and Adult Neurorehabilitation/Pediatrics Rehabilitation courses. The Division of Physical Therapy’s Directors of Clinical Education (DCE) arrange clinical experiences which allow students to practice skills in settings that have patient populations with the conditions just learned in class. For example, the General Medical Conditions clinical experience will be oriented toward acute medical problems and conducted in an acute hospital setting, home health, or a skilled nursing facility. Short term clinical experiences are assigned to each student by the DCEs based on profiles submitted by the student, and with input from the course instructors as needed.

Long term internships are 10 week long experiences during your 6th and 7th semesters. Students are required to complete three internships; one in each of the following settings: acute care, inpatient or outpatient inter-disciplinary rehabilitation, and community outpatient. The DCEs request clinical opportunities from our clinical partners a year in advance. Not every partner can offer an opportunity every year, but most do. The students will be provided with a full slate of available opportunities, from which to select their experiences. At the end of the 5th semester, the students use an established process to negotiate with one another for clinical assignments.

Emory’s clinical partners are in the metro Atlanta area, greater Georgia, and across the nation (as distant as New England, California and Texas). Students generally do their short term experiences in the greater Atlanta metro area. The DCEs will survey the class with respect to willingness to travel, and place those students in facilities in greater GA that provided housing at no cost to the student, or allow the student to travel to locations where they could be hosted by friends and family. This is coordinated on an “as need” basis by the DCEs. Long term internships are different, with most students traveling out of Atlanta for at least one internship. Our local clinical partners are also committed to providing short term experiences to our program, as well as experiences to other physical therapy programs in the state. No one is guaranteed an affiliation in Atlanta during the long term internship cycle; therefore, students must budget accordingly for travel, room, and board.

Where are most of the sites located?

Emory has a contract with many clinical sites. The majority are in the greater Atlanta area. In addition students are assigned to sites in Georgia, such as in Athens, Gainesville, Rome, Albany, and Savannah. In addition to Georgia, we do have a number of facilities located across the nation. Though Emory has many clinical partners, a particular facility may or may not offer an opportunity every year. Locations also vary with respect to our national partners.

Can I set up my own clinical affiliation?

Typically no… The Directors of Education (DCEs) are consistently working to expand Emory’s list of clinical partners. The program has a very specific list of educational and facility requirements that must be met. The DCEs will speak to the matriculating class about any potential opportunities to provide them with information about prospective new clinical partners during the first year of the program.

Can I return to the clinic or hospital I used to work for?

No. Students are not assigned to facilities where they have worked or volunteered for a significant amount of time. Not only does the faculty want you to have new and different experiences from what you have been accustomed to, but also want to avoid any tendency for you to find yourself in a position where the expectation may be for you to maintain your old role and responsibilities, instead of your new role as a physical therapy student.

Are there any affiliations in Atlanta? How far do I have to drive for short term affiliations?

The vast majority of the short term clinicals are in Atlanta and its surrounding areas; some are closer than others. Most students have to drive between 10 minutes to approximately an hour and a half to get to their sites. Housing arrangements may be made for students who have to drive farther to cities like Athens, Rome, Gainesville, Albany, Savannah, etc. The Directors of Clinical Education try to alternate the travel time, amongst the students during the three short term experiences, while also accommodating preferences made on the student profile. Local and out of state sites vary from semester to semester and from year to year. Factors influencing a clinic’s ability to accept a student during a particular time frame are many and include a clinical instructor with interest and experience to supervise a student, and clinical problems consistent with classroom work.