What are the clinical settings and patient populations of the Italian clinical education experiences?
Currently available openings are in seven renowned rehabilitation centers, three in Tuscany, one in Umbria, one in Lazio, one in Emilia Romagna, and one in Lombardy. Most 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. One site is a hand clinic. 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, a bariatric unit, and a hand therapy unit. One site also has a sports rehabilitation service with mainly younger, outpatient clients. One facility has a well-developed aquatic therapy program. One site has an extensive robotics program. There are no pediatric services at any facility.
What are the qualifications of the Italian CIs?
The CIs are Italian-licensed physical therapists with at least one year 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.
What level student would benefit from this experience?
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, neurological, and cardiopulmonary 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 benefited from this international experience. Students who have developed specific personal goals for an international clinical education experience have tended to be more focused as well as more flexible, and generally report a more successful experience.
What is the daily schedule of the student?
The working day generally begins between 8AM to 9:30 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.
Are students able to travel and experience the local culture?
The work week is organized to encourage travel. Students to date have travelled during these experiences throughout Italy, as well as to Greece, Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the United Kingdom. Some students have arrived before the experience or stayed after it to add other destinations. Eduglobal is available to assist inexperienced students to assure that they know how to access transportation, find lodging, manage a restaurant menu, and travel safely.
What are the costs to the student for the clinical education experience?
For an 8 week clinical education experience: Airfare – generally between $800 and $1,600, but may be higher Housing – for 2022 the cost ranges between 85 Euros – 125 Euros (about $105 – $150 at current exchange rate) per student per week in shared housing. Food – except for complimentary lunches on clinic days, students pay food costs (This can vary). Medical – whatever cost is associated with the medical/evacuation insurance that is required for each student. Professional liability – whatever cost is associated with the insurance required by the student’s program, plus approx. 100 euros for Italian insurance included in the administrative fee. Vehicle – a shared vehicle, required for all sites, costs between $600 and $1200 for an 8-week experience. Uniforms – provided at two facilities. At the other students provide their own white scrubs. All students provide their own white clinic shoes (tie or Velcro closure) and a clinic-appropriate bathing suit for aquatic therapy. Administrative fee for 2022 starts at $1,250 for an 8 week clinical education experience, increases $50/week up to 12 weeks (This is variable and can change for coming years). Additional costs are variable, depending on student choice, and can include cell phone, Internet access, touring costs, and souvenirs. Students participating in a shared housing arrangement and leasing or renting a vehicle shared with others have generally found that all costs associated with the experience can be covered with $5,500 to $6,000 for an 8-week time frame.
What does the administrative fee for the program cover?
There is a per student administrative fee payable to Eduglobal Associates. This fee, which varies depending on the length of the clinical experience, can be paid by the program or the individual student. It covers the student’s Italian professional liability, insurance, all personnel and infrastructure costs of Eduglobal as well as coordination by Eduglobal between the PT program, its students, and the facilities, which have contracted with Eduglobal to assure timely and accurate communication in Italian. Coordination historically has been required: 1. to secure invitations for clinical placement 2. to advise on air and ground travel arrangements 3. to secure housing access and orientation 4. to assist with cell phone and Internet access 5. to assist in orientation to the clinical site and clinical personnel 6. to assist in identifying appropriate Italian words and phrases for clinical and social communication 7. to assist in attaining cultural competence in a variety of situations 8. to assure timely completion of the mid-term and final CPI evaluations 9. to assist in conflict resolution 10. to advise the academic program regarding a critical incident 11. to assist in negotiating a remedial learning contract 12. to facilitate the site visit of an DCE, including translation where required 13. to assist in arranging special educational events, such as surgical observation or continuing education 14. to orient the student to the Italian medical and rehabilitation systems 15. to assist the student in case of an emergency 16. to facilitate the student’s return to the USA Eduglobal retains paid personnel to assist students in all logistical aspects of the clinical education experience, including tourist travel.
What is the refund policy if I have to withdraw after I have been accepted?
Students pay a fee that varies with the length of time in the clinical experience. It is paid in two installments, the first installment is $1,000 and is non-refundable if the student withdraws for any reason, including reasons beyond the student’s control. The second installment is between $250 and $450 and is due no later than 10 calendar days before the student’s experience is scheduled to begin in Italy. If a student withdraws for any reason, the second installment will not be invoiced or, if paid, will be refunded.
Do I need to have specific documentation to be able to drive in Italy?
No. An American driving license is all that is needed in Italy. Some travel agencies recommend an International Driver’s License. If a student wants to purchase one, they are available at local AAA offices.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do students have a difficult time communicating with their patients if there is a language barrier?
Students learn to communicate using basic Italian, an interpreter (normally their English speaking CI), non-verbal communication and patient handling skills. A significant acquisition of this experience is the ability to provide excellent rehabilitation even when the student does not speak the patient’s language.
If I am placed, will I share housing with other students?
Yes, you would be placed in safe, regulated housing near your assigned clinic in cottages or apartments. The housing includes a full kitchen, bathroom, living/dining areas, and bedrooms that are generally shared with another student. Using the assigned housing is a requirement of the experience.