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Spotlight on Physical Therapy Students

As a person who has required the services of physical therapists from time to time, I have gained a great respect for what they do and how. Thus, when I learned that my niece was going to apply to become a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), I was quite happy! I recently had the pleasure and privilege of watching her receive her white coat in a ceremony at her university, and there I met some of her classmates. They will all be dispatched throughout the country for their clinicals before graduating with their DPT degrees, and I thought this would be a good time to get the takes of some of the doctoral candidates on their past and future experiences. As always, I would also be glad to learn if what follows inspires anyone reading!

Katelyn Gibbs - Katelyn says that the event which made her sure she wanted to become a physical therapist occurred while she was working as a tech in a physical therapy clinic. "I had one little boy that I worked a lot with in helping him first learn to walk, and [the day when he finally did walk] was a very happy day!" Katelyn will be focusing on orthopedics and sports. In Norfolk Virginia, her first clinical setting will be an outpatient pediatric orthopedic location, within which she hopes to increase her understanding of pediatric needs. Katelyn will then head to Frisco, Texas, where her sports PT knowledge will be able to shine, and where she might narrow down her niche within that broader area of focus. When asked where she hopes to find a position once she graduates, Katelyn stated that she would go, "wherever the wind takes [her]!" And when asked for one thing that is not related to PT which others might not know about her, Katelyn responded that she is, "my parents' favorite child (with a winky face)!"

Katie Nieman - Katie struggled to pick one event which solidified her perspective that PT was right for her, though she had originally been studying pharmacy, and had realized that was NOT where she wanted to be. Katie had known that a number of family members had experienced positive outcomes with physical therapists, and decided to work as a tech to see if she wanted to move in the PT direction. Katie's area of focus is outpatient orthopedics, and she will begin her clinicals in Virginia Beach, where she hopes to build confidence in her ability to assess and to learn different manual therapy techniques. Then, Katie will move to her final clinical placement in Jacksonville, Florida, where she plans to increase her knowledge of how to work with patients with complex circumstances. Katie plans to spend a year after graduating in State College, Pennsylvania, and shall then determine her next move. One non-PT fact about Katie is that she enjoys doing ceramics: another awesome hands-on activity!

Caroline Harvie - Caroline chose to go into PT while working as a PT tech. "I worked with a patient who has a terminal illness. Seeing how both the physical and psychological support of the physical therapist changed her life in a very short time really solidified that this was the field for me." Caroline plans to work in, "pediatrics!!" Her fall clinical placement will be in Chesapeake, Virginia, with medically complex pediatric outpatients. She is eagerly awaiting the opportunity to build upon her pediatric PT foundation. In Spring 2022, Caroline will work in Las Vegas, Nevada, in a sports and orthopedic location. Caroline has not worked much in the realm of sports PT, and looks forward to learning the same from this experience. In addition, she plans to explore the western portions of the country which she has yet to visit. A non-PT fact Caroline shared was that she loves, "high adrenaline activities like skydiving, bungee jumping, cliff jumping, and water sports!"

Congratulations to these and all of the Class of 2022 PT candidates on completing your classroom activities, and good luck in your clinicals! I look forward to hearing about your continued success!


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