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Scholarship Allows Student Jen Manning to Provide Hand Therapy on Rural Reservation

April 12, 2013 — Jen Manning and familyJen Manning has a two-month patient waiting list for her therapy care in the health clinic on the White Earth Indian Reservation in Minnesota where she works. She is a current student in the Hand and Upper Quarter Rehabilitation Program at Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions.

“I often get generic diagnoses such as wrist pain or shoulder pain with absolutely nothing else to go by, so I have to really know my stuff to figure out what is truly going on with the person,” Manning said. “At Drexel, I’m learning from the best of the best. I’m learning from the people that wrote the major hand therapy books so I know my patients are going to be getting top of the line, most up-to-date care.”

Attending Drexel’s Hand Therapy Program has been on Manning’s “dream board” since she first learned about it in 2011 at the Philadelphia Hand Symposium. With seven children at home, she questioned whether she could pay for the program on her own and decided that even if she had to wait a couple of years in order to save money, she would find a way to attend.

Manning hoped that getting more training would increase her confidence as a therapist and help her successfully treat more hand patients in less time. Her hope has become a reality.

Manning was awarded the Evelyn J. Mackin Scholarship to help her pay for the program. She is the second recipient of the scholarship that benefits students of academic merit and financial need who wish to pursue a post-professional degree in hand and upper quarter rehabilitation. The scholarship was named for Evelyn J. Mackin, PT, a friend to the College and to hand therapists around the world.

“I wanted to help therapists who had a passion for hand therapy who wanted to increase their knowledge,” Mackin said. “I was especially happy that the scholarship was established in my name and that it will afford the opportunity to therapists that want to increase their knowledge of hand therapy.”

Manning wants to prove that the care in her reservation clinic is just as good as therapy care in any other clinic. The Indian Health Service Clinic at White Earth is federally owned and the patients receive free healthcare from the government. “People often think that because it’s free, the care is substandard or that they can’t afford to get good therapists in there, and I’m kind of out to prove them wrong,” Manning said.

She grew up on White Earth with her parents. Manning now lives off-site, but her heart is still focused onWhite Earth Health Center bettering the reservation. She said that younger residents often move away to the mainland after their education, leaving the reservation behind. She wants to end this trend by showing adolescents how rewarding and enjoyable it is to work at home. “My passion for what I do has already gotten a couple of teenagers interested in looking at therapy as a profession. Hopefully they’ll come back to the reservation to work because we can definitely use more therapists. We are few and far between here,” Manning said.

“I am only in my second semester at Drexel but know that I have made a very wise decision in attending. I am already noticing a difference in my efficiency and effectiveness in treating patients,” Manning said. “I am feeling more confident in my skills and more confident that I am providing my patients with current best practices.”

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