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Jackie Buczkowski
Jackie Buczkowski demonstrates different exercises for patients

Kinesiology student Jackie Buczkowski talks about her internship

Students in the College of Applied Health Sciences have the opportunity to do their internships in a variety of fields. Today, we speak with Jackie Buczkowski, a student in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, about her internship.

Q: Where did you complete your internship and what was your experience?

A: I completed my internship at Active Rehab Clinics in Bucktown, a neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois. Initially, I began shadowing the head chiropractor of the clinic and his assistant. I observed the chiropractor while he worked hands-on with his patients and observed his assistant while he coached the patients through various exercises pertaining to their injury. After two to three months of observation, I began working with patients myself. I was taught the Burdenko Method which consists of a series of exercises used to treat patients on land and in water. Throughout the fall 2020 semester, I worked with patients at the clinic in Bucktown as well as out of Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois.

Q: How did you apply for the internship?

A: Since I completed my internship during the summer and fall of COVID-19, I did not apply for this internship as a student conventionally would. My cousin is a patient of the chiropractor and asked if he was allowing students to shadow during this time. However, when I have shadowed previous physical therapists I would typically reach out through email. I have also dropped off my resume at a few different locations to see if they would allow me to shadow. More often than not they would agree! Since physical therapists understand shadowing is a requirement in order to apply to PT school, they are very understanding and willing to help.

Q: What did you learn from the internship?

A: This internship was the most fulfilling internship I've had so far. I learned to trust my judgment and to not be embarrassed of being incorrect or struggling to learn something new. I was often quizzed and asked questions before being told the answer. This style of teaching helped stimulate my brain which overall felt more interactive. I wasn't simply watching passively but rather actively engaging in assessing a patient.

Q: What was your biggest takeaway from the experience?

A: My biggest takeaway from this experience is understanding that every patient is different. What might work for one patient may not work for the other. Although you're taught to go by the book in some cases, you may need to think outside the box in other scenarios. It was fascinating for me to see the chiropractor and his assistant not only assess the part of the body that was injured or had pain but to go beyond that and see if another part of the body was actually causing that pain. For example, if a young athlete was having pain in her knee, they would rehab her hip and build strength there.

Q: Is this internship closely related to the field you are hoping to work in? 

A: This internship is closely related to the field I want to go into which is physical therapy. Although I shadowed a licensed chiropractor, he also specializes in rehabilitation. In my previous experiences I shadowed physical therapists at hospitals and chain outpatient clinics such as Athletico, however, this experience was different because it was a privately owned clinic. In many ways this faces its own challenges because billing and scheduling is in your control. I was able to see the "behind the scenes" of what owning your own business might look like.

Q: Would you like to share any other information that might be helpful for future Kinesiology students?

A: The advice I recommend to any Kinesiology student is to reach out to any company or any specific person you'd like to shadow or intern for! Internships are truly the best opportunity to figure out whether or not you really want to go into a certain field. I've shadowed many physical therapists and have learned something new from each of them. They inspire me to finish school and start doing what I believe to be the best career there is for me. With a bachelor's in Kinesiology there are many career paths you can take and you want to find which fits you best!

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