We are spending our next 12 weeks interning at the Fawzia Sultan Rehabilitation Institute. We began our first day at clinic at the typical start of the work week, Sunday. Our first day at clinic involved a fairly thorough orientation to the set up and day-to-day flow.
Here are some of the answers to questions we had and are receiving from family and friends:
What is the clinic like? How does it compare to home?
The clinic, for all intents and purposes, is very much like clinics at home. It has some differences that are a combination of the building set up, cultural accommodation and technology but that is the same with any place. It is multidisciplinary staffed with physicians, psychologists, physios, speech therapists, massage therapists, etc. We are starting off at the main Salmiya location, but I’m also hoping to check out the pediatric facility in Hawally. Photos of the clinic can be viewed here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/130002991@N06/
The main difference for us is that all treatment is performed in a private room (aka we both have our own treatment rooms! #spoiled). Since the gym is on a separate floor, we mostly provide exercises to follow manual treatments in the rooms or have focused exercise days at the gym. I think the biggest difference from our systems at home is documentation. While the clinic is working towards an electronic medical records system, currently everything is on paper. We shall find out how quick or slow I am writing out my notes vs. typing them 🙂 Additionally, insurance works rather differently here. There is a flat rate for treatment with no coding for insurance, or breaking down patient charges by 8 minute rules, etc. Something tells me it will be a sad day when we have to return to our system at home. The last very big difference is that there is no equivalent to HIPAA/patient confidentiality policies in Kuwait. Though we plan to uphold our professionalism in this regard, it will be interesting to note if this changes how our day to day plays out.
Are you permitted to treat males?
Yes we are permitted to treat both genders. When appointments are made, patients are asked if they prefer a male or female therapist. Beyond the initial request, there seem to be no issues. So far with patients have been very accepting of having us shadow our CI and are not concerned with mixed gender treatment. As stated in a previous post, there are ranges of beliefs and Kuwait is quite international. Though we see a lot of locals, in the first few days we’ve also treated individuals from around the globe further broadening the cultural differences, religious beliefs, and personal preferences. I will actually say that most people seem quite relaxed, even more so than home, about being uncovered for treatments. Most people just want you to help them feel better and know you are treating them as a health professional in a private setting.
What language do they speak in Kuwait? Do people speak English?
The official language in Kuwait is Arabic. Though, as per usual, we are very spoiled in that most everyone speaks English. Again, it is very international so there are a variety of first languages amongst our patient population. Also, the front desk staff also assist in translation when needed. Though we are able to get by, I still think my simplistic explanations and miming will improve over the rotation.
Becca and I are both building a small caseload. We will be treating a combination of Peter’s patients and our own. We’ve also established a couple of projects to start working on and will be assisting with cueing participants in a charity pilates class for cancer support organization here in Kuwait (more info to come). Despite our initial clinic jitters and continued pursuit of perfection we are feeling much more in the swing of things and will be ready for week 2 after a couple of days to catch up. Our major success to end the week was being able to hail and direct our first cab home without having an address to provide the driver. We made it in one go and are home safe and sound.