Despite his best intentions to report weekly, time got away from 3DPO over the last three weeks. Time and the excitement of his first field trip! 3DPO was very excited he was able to attend the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists annual meeting in Chicago!
Interns don’t usually get to attend such prestigious events, but he was given the opportunity to learn a LOT about prosthetics and orthotics in a very intensive effort. He was chaperoned by Kristen Beltran, Resident Prosthetist Orthotist, and Sheryl Nathanson, CPO, and Nina Bondre, Board Eligible Prosthetist Orthotist. Nina let him hitch a ride in her bag as they moved around the meeting space.
The focus of the meeting was on sharing clinical knowledge about prosthetics and orthotics, as well as networking with other professionals in the field. He studied the meeting materials in order to find the best lectures and demonstrations. Some of these were lectures about new products in the field and others about current research. For instance, why do some patients use their orthoses more than others? He asked one of his mentors to explain this to him. Nina explained that one of the most important factors in a successful outcome is encouraging communication between the patient and practitioner. The more aligned expectations are on both sides, the better the outcome for the patient.
After a nutritious snack, 3DPO learned about some of the new components being used in P&O, including the Becker Triple Action ankle joint (just his size.) He learned all about the Gomez Scoliosis System and how he could better assess patients with scoliosis. His favorite prosthetic component on display was a myoelectric hand that operates based on a patient's muscle contractions and nerve signals. His favorite lecture was about how a patient's sense of balance and position in space affects confidence in mobility. Given his square body and inability to have a sense of balance, 3DPO was intrigued by this topic. He questioned Nina closely. She explained that it is fairly easy and quick to incorporate new techniques to assess someone's balance when evaluating for a prosthesis, for example. Patients who have a better ability to sense their body in space tend to have an easier time walking and feeling confident while doing so.
3DPO had a great time in Chicago learning about the business he will be working so hard in. He loved meeting new friends and teachers. And he enjoyed some new flavors while he was there. A guy has to eat some time! Now back home, 3DPO is looking forward to helping the staff at Dankmeyer continue to provide exceptional patient care.