Updating skills and applying them through clinical case studies on Week 3 of the Physiopedia MOOC

Wow, it is hard to believe we are already at the end of Week 3 of this year’s massive open online course (MOOC). As MOOC Manager I am really enjoying spending time completing the MOOC courses alongside you all, and this week I have focussed on the neurological screen.

The neurological screen is something I have always felt was really important to develop really strong practical skills in. I remember when I first qualified as a physiotherapist, taking every opportunity I could to practise these skills on nearly every patient I saw. For me this provided a great opportunity to practise my skills for testing reflexes, myotomes and sensation including dermatomes and peripheral nerves. The real benefit to me in doing this is that I saw a lot of typical responses to these tests, I was comfortable with the practical skills of the test and I was able to screen patients quite quickly so that the first time I had a patient that had neuro signs and symptoms I felt confident with the test and it made it easier to identify atypical responses. What I found more challenging as a new clinician though was interpreting the results of the neuro screen and localising the impairment to upper or lower motor neurones.

Doing the Neurological Screening course has really made me reflect on my neuro skills assessment, I have changed how I do things in many ways as I now work in paediatrics within a Primary Care setting with children from 0 to 16 years. Completing a neuro screen can vary so much depending on the age of the child that you are working with. With the babies that I work with I see a lot of primitive reflexes, and frequently monitor for integration of these reflexes but also monitor closely for altered reflexes, which for me indicates a need to refer on for further review. Reflexes in particular, including pathological reflexes and deep tendon reflexes, have played a huge role in my clinical practice, and have helped me identify a number of children with neurological conditions early in their development, which allowed referral onwards and in-time diagnosis, which in some cases meant early access to treatment options that could potentially improve outcomes. It was also great to review the neurological screen after participating in the Live Webinar last week on the lower limb, which had two relevant cases. Working in paediatrics I do not see much radiculopathy so it was really interesting to think about the case study as I was doing the course.

So with only one more week to go of the MOOC, I have the last two courses on Exploring Positioning and Exploring Transfers to still complete. Hopefully you have all had the opportunity to refresh your own knowledge of the foundational skills that really underpin what we do as rehabilitation professionals.

For those who missed out on the live webinar on Lower Limb Case Studies you have a chance to check it out now on PlusIt is well worth checking it out as it really brings many of the MOOC courses together, and puts them into the clinical context. The following testimonial highlights how beneficial the webinar was:

This webinar provided an invaluable opportunity to delve into real-world scenarios, offering a profound understanding of lower limb conditions and their treatment complexities. The knowledge and insights shared by the expert presenters were both enlightening and immediately applicable. What struck me most was the emphasis on evidence-based practice and the meticulous analysis of case studies. This has undoubtedly enhanced my clinical decision-making, enabling me to provide more precise and effective care to my patients with lower limb issues. Moreover, the webinar highlighted the significance of interdisciplinary collaboration and patient-centered care. It underscored the importance of working collaboratively with physical therapists and other healthcare professionals to deliver comprehensive and holistic treatments. I genuinely believe that the knowledge gained from this webinar will lead to improved patient outcomes and better overall care. It has rekindled my passion for continual learning and growth in the field of physical therapy. I am incredibly grateful for this enriching experience and look forward to implementing what I’ve learned into my practice. I wholeheartedly recommend this webinar to fellow healthcare professionals seeking to elevate their skills and provide exceptional care to their patients.

Don’t forget that we will also have a further live webinar on Upper Limb Clinical Cases next Thursday 28 September. You can still register by following the link. Believe me it is worth checking out, you will get to see how all the elements of the MOOC come together within clinical situations, and you will have an opportunity to ask any questions that you might have either about the Case Studies or the MOOC itself – I look forward to seeing you there! 

This work is supported by the USAID funded Learning Acting Building for Rehabilitation in Health Systems (ReLAB-HS) project and is not possible without the generous and committed contribution of the Leahy War Victims fund.

ReLAB-HS is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and is implemented under cooperative agreement number 7200AA20CA00033. The consortium is managed by prime recipient, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.