It was honestly one of the best experiences of my life.
This program brings it all together and it just makes you feel like not just a better clinician, not just a better friend, but a better a better person.
I carry the lessons I learned in Ireland with me every single day.
During the past 11 years, nearly 250 undergraduate students in Pitt School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences have had a unique study abroad experience. They've traveled to Ireland to see how interprofessional teams work together.
From my own clinical practice, I realized, oh my goodness, how wonderful it would be if they could get a good sense of the scope of practice of their fellow professionals early on, so that they could then take that with them when they're in their clinical education and then on into their clinical practice.
And that global perspective carries over not just in approaching a patient in a multidisciplinary approach, but the whole family.
It's not like many other study abroad programs. The students do not take classes.
Students visit schools for children with special needs, rehab centers, and hospitals located in both Dublin and Belfast.
We spend the time there observing, listening to experts, give them information. And then we follow up in great detail afterwards to explore what the students have learned in those settings.
We saw each clinician, we each got a shadow a PT, an OT, a dietitian, an SLP. In every single different setting.
Being able to work interdisciplinary, with my fellow students and with the therapists in Ireland was fantastic.
We were going and observing at the schools and then would have to come home at the end of the day, and write up what we saw. So now in graduate school, which is a lot of that and having that experience in undergrad has definitely prepared me well.
In spite of the hard work, there's still time for fun, for building friendships, exploring a different culture, and learning about Ireland.
We're given a topic to present on about Ireland, and then be able to go and see these cool places, the Carrick-a-Rede Bridge in Northern Ireland, we're crossing huge cliffs, and I'm on this wooden bridge, and it was just cool.
The program is building momentum.
What I want to do going forward is use this program as a sort of springboard for developing these connections between people who helped me with my program over there and then clinicians, researchers, teachers, here, either in the community or here in Pitt, and specifically here in SHRS. I've been very excited by the two groups of individuals that I've been able to bring over the last year from Northern Ireland, Belfast and from Dublin. And we've already got some projects underway.
I suppose from our perspective coming back here, we're hoping to maybe develop the research links a little bit more and so that we can, I suppose, maybe empower our own staff clinically to learn something from from you guys here.
One of the other very satisfying things for me is watching students develop. We're only there for a month.
Everything that I am, everything that I've learned has been 30 days.
Everybody is wonderful over there. I absolutely loved going I'd go back again in a second.
If you want the most valuable and unique experience to prepare you for any healthcare profession. This program is it.