Second-Year Success

October 8, 2015

Well into their second year, faculty and staff at Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences are seeing the expansion of interprofessional coursework, programs, and enrollment with more exciting growth on the horizon.

The new academic year, which began in June, marked the arrival of a new cohort of students in the occupational and physical therapy graduate programs. These students join the charter class of OT and PT students who finished their first round of clinical rotations in the spring and received pins at a special ceremony in June, a rite of passage marking the end of their first year of graduate school.

MDCHS First Pinning Ceremony - 06082015
MDCHS First Pinning Ceremony – 06082015

“We are very proud of what our charter class has achieved in their initial clinical rotations,” said Ben Herz, director of the occupational therapy program. “We have a great group of first-year students who are committed to excellence in their studies.”

The new academic year brings faculty and staff additions and the completion of additional instructional space in the state-of-the-art Fishersville facility. With three new faculty members, the PT department now has a full cohort of faculty. A new simulation lab is close to completion, and a new biomechanics research lab will be up and running by spring.

Second-year students — who are diving deeper into their subjects — are also benefitting from a groundbreaking clinical seminar course, which fosters the MDCHS commitment to interprofessional education and is designed to bring caregivers together in patient treatment.

Second-year physical therapy student Julie Kraus said the workload has increased, but the peer support that her classmates developed last year remains solid.

“The relationships have gotten even stronger, and it’s amazing how much support the second-year students can still give each other even though we’re all trudging through the same things,” Kraus said. “The continued support from our growing faculty is not only fantastic, but also very inspiring. The charter classes have taken the new first-year students under our wings, and we do what we can to keep them motivated, too. Several of us have given time out of our schedules to give pointers and assistance on their upcoming practicals and calm some fears.”

Also joining the MDCHS family are 27 registered nurses seeking their bachelor’s degree through Mary Baldwin University’s new RN to BSN program, which launched in August. The college’s recently accredited Master of Science in Physician Assistant program is also on track for a January start.