Jennie Yen, PT, DPT, is the 2009-2010 HSS Hand Therapy Fellow. Carol Page, PT, DPT, CHT is Senior Director at HSS Rehabilitation and directs the fellowship program. Questions about the program can be directed to Carol at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carol: Jennie tell us about yourself and why you applied for the HSS Hand Therapy Fellowship program. What attracts you to the specialty of Hand Therapy?
Jennie: My desire to apply for the Hand Therapy Fellowship came from a culmination of personal experience, my mother’s diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, as well as my professional exposure to past mentorship. My first professional encounter with hand therapy was as a volunteer at HSS in the hand department in 2002. Under the department’s guidance I became interested in the hand therapy field. I had the opportunity to learn about the additional services we as therapists are able to provide within our scope of practice, and I became fascinated by the specialized wealth of knowledge. Following graduation I worked at a private sports medicine outpatient setting treating primarily upper extremity and spine conditions. I was certain the fellowship could provide the experience, the opportunity and the mentorship to give me the tools and exposure I need to make the transition to hand therapy.
Carol: Tell us about some of the experiences you have had as the HSS Hand Therapy Fellow.
Jennie: I’ve been given many opportunities to develop my skills as a clinician. I have a weekly splint lab to improve my competence in making splints for chronic and acute diagnoses; research time that includes working with a PhD to encourage clinical thinking and reasoning; and the chance to attend Hand Therapy Lecture Series throughout the course of the fellowship program. I also have the opportunity to attend Hand Rounds with therapists, surgeons and surgical fellows to learn from a different perspective that is essential in treating hand diagnoses. The collaborative exposure with surgical fellows during our weekly Hand Clinic has also been very much part of my education in critical thinking. One of the most rewarding experiences has been providing treatment and care to the Spanish-speaking population in the healthcare setting. I’ve also been able to attend educational activities in other areas to expand my role as a therapist including sports core conferences and lecture series from different departments.
Carol: Would you recommend the fellowship program to other therapists?
Jennie: I would certainly recommend this fellowship to anyone who would like to pursue goals in the specialty of hand therapy. One of the most fulfilling experiences has been working in a supportive environment with highly specialized clinicians. The HSS hand therapists foster my growth as a clinician and encourage a high level of excellence in patient care and treatment. The clinicians that I met seven years ago and that I have admired throughout my career as a physical therapist are the same people that continue to inspire and motivate me today.
Carol: What would you like to do when you have completed the program?
Jennie: Following this fellowship experience, I will be taking the Certified Hand Therapist exam and will continue to focus on becoming an upper extremity specialist. My interest in this specialized area continues to grow through the clinical exposure I’m receiving. The fellowship is giving me the opportunity to grow as a clinician and to pursue my goal of becoming a certified hand therapist.