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Are there any shadow or volunteer opportunities for Physical Therapy in the Chicago area, close the westside or northside ?

In college I majored in Biology with a minor in Pre-med and Global Health. I wasn't able to add on Pre-Pt, but I took courses that was required for the pre-professional part.

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Lauren’s Answer

Hi Alexzandrea,

I'm pasting part of my comments from a previous question that you posted in case this clarifies your question better or can come in helpful to someone else.

There's plenty of PT-only companies and hospital-based PT clinics that you can look into for volunteer or shadowing opportunities. If there's a clinic nearby that interests you, you can contact them directly or go to their website to look for information specific to volunteering or shadowing. If it's a larger company, they might direct you to their HR department or corporate office to get that all set up. You can let them know about your educational background and that you have an interest in learning more about physical therapy.

I did a Google search for "Chicago Area Physical Therapy Volunteering" and it generated a good list of options you can learn more about. I'm not sure if I'm able to include the specific links here but you can perform a similar search or narrow down the search criteria to something that best fits your interests.

If you plan on including these experiences in a resume or school application, make sure to document and maintain a record of your hours.
Good luck with your search!

Lauren recommends the following next steps:

Reach out directly to local PT offices to learn if they have volunteer or shadowing opportunities.
Search for "Physical Therapy Volunteering" for your area
Once you get started, log your volunteer hours
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Cynthia’s Answer

Most or all physical therapy programs require Observation Hours in various settings as part of the application process. So physical therapy establishments are used to requests to come to observe/shadow. Note that this is usually a finite number of hours rather than an ongoing volunteer or shadowing experience. If you know a physical therapy program to which you are considering applying, there typically is an Observation Hour form that you can access and bring with you to be completed in some way when you go to a physical therapy facility to observe. It would be a good idea to access that form to bring along when you go to settings. Sometimes you are required to do a certain number of Observation Hours in specific types of settings such as acute care, long term care, out patient, etc.

You could do an online search for physical therapy facilities in your area and do some cold calling to schedule Observation Hours.
Good luck.
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Susie’s Answer

I agree with Cynthia, above. Most hospitals or larger outpatient practices have a pathway for pre-PT, OT, or SLP students in need of observations hours to apply, but that contact can be difficult to locate! When I worked for Elmhurst Hospital, I would get emails from the director "Can you take a student for x number of observation hours in two weeks?" and I would indicate yes/no based on my availability to add students to my schedule. I'd suggest contacting "Rehabilitation Services" at a hospital near you and request to speak to someone about getting some required observation hours for PT school. The last facility I worked at only permitted 8 observation hours per person, but this was just post-COVID. Most PTs, in my experience, are happy to provide those hours and mentor the next generation of clinicians; however, not all settings permit observation, like my current setting. Registering as a Volunteer is also an option. I will attach the pathway for volunteering at Elmhurst Hospital, which is located about 20 miles west of Chicago, just off the 290. https://www.eehealth.org/ways-to-give/volunteer/emh/
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Ximena’s Answer

Hey there, Alexzandrea! If you're on the hunt for volunteer opportunities around your neighborhood, I'd suggest reaching out to your local city office. They often have information on how you can lend a helping hand. Also, keep an eye out for any posters or bulletins in your vicinity - they can be a great source of information. Plus, don't forget to check social media. Many organizations use these platforms to share volunteer opportunities. Remember, every small step you take towards volunteering can make a big difference. Keep going!
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