Q. What are the clinical settings and patient populations of the Italian internships?
A. Currently available openings are in five renowned rehabilitation centers, two in Tuscany, one in Umbria, one in Lazio, and one in Emilia Romagna. All sites include adult inpatient rehabilitation services; one site is 90% rehabilitation and 10% SNF, and three are 80% SNF and 20% rehabilitation. One site is a cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation hospital with ventilator weaning, COPD, cardiac, and bariatric services. All sites also have outpatient services. Diagnoses are similar to those in the USA – total hip/knee, multiple fx/trauma, LBP, cervical pain/trauma, CVA, SCI, TBI, MS, parkinsonism, other degenerative neurological diseases, COPD, and s/p cardiac surgery. Specialized services include an Alzheimer unit, an end-stage coma unit, a ventilator weaning unit, and a bariatric unit. One site also has a sports rehabilitation service with mainly younger, outpatient clients. Two facilities have well-developed aquatic therapy programs. There are no neurological pediatric services at any facility.
Q. What are the qualifications of the Italian CIs?
A. The CIs are Italian-licensed physical therapists with at least three years of clinical experience. Italian therapists undergo a three-year basic qualifying degree at the university level, receive a bachelor’s degree (laurea), and take a national examination to qualify for practice. Several of the CIs in both facilities have undergone post-graduate education in manual therapy, postural assessment, neurological rehabilitation, or leadership training. As a group, the CIs have successfully mentored multiple Italian and American physical therapy students, as well as students from other countries internal and external to the European Union. All CIs are proficient in spoken English and can read and write English sufficiently to evaluate students using the electronic CPI.
Q. What level student would benefit from this experience?
A. The Italian facilities prefer students in the final year of their basic-qualifying, doctoral education. All students should have completed basic and clinical science courses as well as orthopedic and neurological management courses, with the occasional exception of an integration or capstone course. Students with as few as 8 weeks’ and as many as 20 weeks’ prior clinical education have benefitted from this international experience. Students who have developed specific personal goals for an international internship have tended to be more focused as well as more flexible, and generally report a more successful experience.
Q. What is the daily schedule of the student intern?
A. The working day generally begins between 8AM to 8:30 AM, with a 60- to 90-minute lunch break, five days per week. In one facility, the working day is in one of two shifts, starting at 8 AM and 2 PM. While most therapists in Europe work a standard 35- to 36-hour week, student interns are able to work extra hours or are required to do clinic-related study, including language study, for the remaining hours of a 40-hour week.
Q. Are students able to travel and experience the local culture?
A. The work week is organized to encourage travel. Students to date have travelled during internships throughout Italy, as well as to Greece, Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the United Kingdom. Some students have arrived before the internship or stayed after it to add other destinations. Eduglobal is available to assist inexperienced students in the first travel events to assure that they know how to access transportation, find lodging, manage a restaurant menu, and travel safely.