Professional Presentations

Here is a list of the following professional presentations I have given. Please feel free to follow links below to view my presentations:

Service Learning Reflection

During my time here at VCU I had several opportunities to be involved in giving back to the Richmond community. Two areas that I dedicated my time to was Sportable and CARES Clinic at VCU. Sportable is an organization that organizes sporting events for community members with disabilities. During my time volunteering with Sportable, I had the opportunity to help coach players in tennis.

CARES Clinic at VCU is a student run free clinic that serves both uninsured and under insured patients in the greater Richmond area. I served on the student run board during my time as a student at VCU. This allowed me to be involved in this organization in several different ways: student physical therapist, office manager and 5K volunteer. During the fall as a board, we made the decision to host a 5K to fundraise for our clinic. I oversaw planning and organizing this event on behalf of the clinic. This was an amazing opportunity to me. I love running and had competed in many runs but never knew the full extent of what it took to put on an event like this. While this was for sure a stressful event to plan, it was also one of the most rewarding experiences during my three years at VCU. We were able to raise money that made a big difference at our clinic and enable VCU to provide the best care possible to our patients. Philanthropy has always been a significant portion of my life and I continue to make this a priority when I enter the work force in a year. I would love the opportunity to be involved in a free clinic as a clinician and a potential mentor.

Professional Meeting and Event Reflection

During my time at VCU I have had the opportunity to attend several professional events. Locally I was able to attend a National Advocacy Dinner. Nationally, I had the opportunity to attend NEXT in 2018 and CSM in 2019. Specifically in this blog post, I am going to focus in on my experience at CSM.

Combined Section Meeting was conference held in Washington DC at the end of January 2019. This conference offered a plethora of session discussing a multitude of topics all relevant to physical therapy. I went into this conference with a list of all of the sessions that I wanted to attend. However, I had a secondary goal when attending this session. I saw this conference as a wonderful experience to start make professional connections. This was something that I started to realize could make a huge impact on my career. Connections can open up so many more opportunities. CSM was a very large conference and a unique experience to meet so many peers and potential mentors in one location. During this conference, I met all of the members of the Student Assembly Board of Directions. It was incredible getting to meet a group of peers that are so passionate about being involved in the future of PT. It gave me a great opportunity to learn about ways that I can be involved both as a student and a new graduate. I think that this was an incredibly eye-opening experience for me both in learning so many things from the educational sessions and in gaining valuable and lifelong connections with peers. I think that this is something that cannot be overstated when recommending future students to attending connections. It is easy for students to sit back and hang out with friends, but getting out of one’s comfort zone and making new connections can be so valuable.

Professional and Clinical Development

The first area that I think I experienced the most growth was problem solving skills. I cannot say that I had a ton of opportunity to test my problem solving skills in relation to physical therapy prior to my first clinical experience. However, I did struggle with this initially during my experience in acute care. My Clinical Instructor was particularly helpful with this. She was very good at getting me to think outside of the box. She guided me to take the skills that I was taught in school and alter it to fit in with each patient. Specifically, I had one patient this summer that helped me realized my growth in problem solving. This patient had a right humerus fracture and a left hip replacement. She could not bear weight through her right arm, but she needed an assistive device. I worked with her to use a sling and a cane in her left hand to ambulate.

Secondly, I think I made a significant amount of growth in interprofessional skills. Working on the floor that I was working on in acute care, I had a significant amount of interactions with nurses, OTs, MDs, patients and their families. Every day I had to attend rounds with a variety of medical professionals and it was my responsibilities to give my recommendations on placement for patients. Typically for many patients, their insurance would not allow a specific placement so between the medical doctor, the social worker and I, we had to discuss the best option for the patient given their insurance and medical complications. In addition, I had to do handoffs with the nurses before and after each patients. I learned over the course of my 8 weeks which nurses liked more details handoff and which ones were more comfortable with transfers. Learning and remembering these details allowed me to build better relationships with the nurses and I believe that this can be crucial when working in this field.

Lastly, I think that I made improvements in critical thinking. While in an acute care setting, patients charts can appear overwhelming. There is a ton of information and it can be very difficult to pull out the relevant information, especially because you cannot read every note in every patients’ chart. In addition, in an acute care setting subjective examinations need to be completed efficiently. During the course of my 8 week rotation, I believe that I made strides in becoming more efficient in starting to understand what questions were relevant to what patients. In addition, I started to make improvements in knowing what questions I needed to ask prior to initiating treatment and what questions I could leave for during treatment. In addition, I think over the course of my rotation, I gained experience understand what gains I could expect from my patients in a realistic period of time.

While I think I made improvements in my critical thinking, I believe that I still have a way to go till I can consider myself at an entry level with critical thinking. I want to also focus on my professionalism and communication over the course of my next rotations. I think that these are currently my areas of weakness but also two areas that are going to take longer to reach greater proficiency.

Professional Goals

Get involved in state level PT chapter within a year of graduating. I think it is incredibly important to be involved in a professional organization to give back to the profession. Throughout high school and college, I was highly involved in philanthropy and giving back to my community. This is a big way that I want to get involved on a professional level. I would love to get involved at the state level in a PT association with an emphasis on philanthropy.

Obtain my CI certifications within my first 3 years of practicing. Clinical instructors have been key in my education at VCU. I have had several amazing CIs who have shaped the physical therapist student that I am today. Being a CI is such an amazing experience that helps you continue to learn and grow as a clinician but also give back to the physical therapy field in such a crucial way. I put my goal to be within three years because I think that it is beneficial to create my own treatment style over the first year or two working in the field. By giving myself a couple years to solidify myself as a clinician, I believe that I will be able to educate the students more effectively.

Find the best path for my passions in Physical Therapy. This is not a very concrete goal but currently I am not sure of where my path is taking me. If you would have asked me two years ago where I saw myself in five years I would have told you I plan on working in an outpatient orthopedic clinic and I would have completed a Sports Medicine residency program and sat for my SCS. However, I have found that I truly love working in an acute care setting as much as I love working in an orthopedic setting. I am not sure which way I am being called to serve at the moment. My hope is that this will become more clear over the course of the next year as I continue my education and gain experience in a variety of settings. Once I come to a decision on what setting I want to practice in, I can start to create more clear professional goals for growth.

ICE I Experience Reflection

I was 10 years old when I decided that I wanted to be a physical therapist, and I did not waiver from that resolve since. All the way through high school, I knew I wanted to attend UNC and major in Biology and Exercise and Sports Science because I knew that this would set me up best for PT school. In all of this, I was sure that I wanted to pursue outpatient orthopedics. It was all I could see myself doing. Even as I got my shadowing hours in a nursing home and at UNC hospital, I could not imagine myself working in either of those settings or enjoying that kind of work.

Knowing all the above, I was not looking forward to my clinical experience in an acute setting this year. I kept telling myself to just try and keep an open mind, but there was this voice in the back of my head telling me that I was going to hate it. Never in a million years would I have imagined that I would be walking away from these two weeks truly torn. I have always known the path that I want my life to take and here I am now questioning all of that.

I never had a true appreciation for the work that acute physical therapy did, the difference that they could make, and the rewarding nature of the job these therapists do. I am walking away from these two weeks so thankful that VCU requires us to do a rotation in acute setting because it’s made me realize that there is so much more to physical therapy than outpatient ortho. I am so thankful that I have found a field in physical therapy that I am interested in pursuing and considering a future career in. With the experience that I have had over the past two weeks, I am excited for the next two years of school to pursue other areas of physical therapy and the journey that they hold

Writer’s Choice Blog Post – Reflection on First Year

I have always known I wanted to be a physical therapist. I set my eyes on it when I was just 10 years old. Before I even knew what having a job meant, I knew that I wanted that job to be physical therapy. I was first exposed to physical therapy when I was a patient and then was further exposed worked as a PT tech. However, during my first year of PT school, I have learned so much more about physical therapy than I could have imagined, and I don’t mean in this is how you assess this joint kind of way. What I have learned so much about, what I did not realized was there, was all of the important parts of physical therapy that have nothing to do with the hands-on treatment.

              Most importantly, I have learned so much about the importance of making a connection with your patient. We have seen and have been told the importance of getting your patients to buy into what you are doing. The more than the patients believe that what you are doing is going to help, the more that they will listen to you and the more that they will get better. And one of the best ways to do this is through motivational interviewing. In addition, I can’t remember in any of my physical therapy experiences going through my history, but I am quickly learning that taking a good history is one of the key pieces of being a good therapist. A good history can give you an idea of some potential pathologies and give you a clue as to what tests to do. This way you can narrow down your examination some and still be able to properly identify what is going on with the patient and provide the best treatment possible.

              While I have learned so much through the course of the last year, it leaves me so excited to see what the next two years hold. I am excited to learn treatments for pathologies, and when to follow different courses of treatment. I am excited to learn about specifics of different settings that physical therapists can work in and the pros and cons to each types of locations. And lastly, I am excited to learn more about motivating patients and getting them to buy into treatment plans.