Jun 01 2014

Susie Williams

Published by under EDPT

Professional Goal Statement

My goal is to become a successful orthopedic and sports physical therapist working with professional and/or college athletes as a shoulder specialist. I want to focus on performance enhancement and return to competition.

Career Plan

  • Become a member of  Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy through APTA 2013
  • Graduate with a DPT in 2014
  • Work with an outpatient sports physical therapy (Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy, Litchfield Park, AZ) clinic treating high school and collegiate athletes 2014 – 2020
  • Obtain a CSCS by December 2014
  • Complete a sports physical therapy residency program 2015-2016
  • Take the SCS 2016
  • Complete a shoulder fellowship program with the opportunity to work on an MLB team 2017
  • Work for a University or professional team 2020
  • Private orthopedic practice

Self Assessment

Strengths Areas for Professional Development

  • General knowledge of orthopedics
  • Have dated experience in orthopedic therapy.
  • Have knowledge and skill in bodybuilding, power lifting, and Olympic lifting
  • Extensive history/experience in many sports with a strong desire to stay involved with athletes
  • Beginning network of physical therapy colleagues.
  • Special interest in shoulder pathologies plaguing the overhead athlete



  • Need to refresh clinical skills in orthopedics, shoulders
  • Need experience working with elite athletes
  • Need stronger background in orthopedics
  • Need to network with PTs and CSCS working at universities and with teams
  • Clinical reasoning skills and differential diagnosis of orthopedic pathologies
  • No experience with elbow pathology
  • No athletic training background/certification that is typically required for professional team’s PT



  1. Manage 2 patients simultaneously on my last clinical rotation to prepare me for the set up of my first job, while not negatively impacting the patient’s quality of care.
  2. Present in-service on subacromial impingement in the overhead athlete to OCS and SCS physical therapists and shoulder researchers to integrate new evidence into clinical practice and get feedback regarding specifics of working with elite throwers versus the general public.
  3. Develop/refresh clinical skills by competing a sports residency program
  4. Prepare and sit for the exam for Board Certification in Sports Physical Therapy.
  5. Prepare and sit for the exam for Strength and Conditioning.


Specific Strategies

  • Select two elective courses that will help address my learning needs.
  • Identify projects for clinical course requirements that will increase my knowledge in sports orthopedics and shoulder impairments
  • Develop a doctoral project around shoulder injuries with overhead athletes and intervention
  • Identify a mentor with the knowledge, skills, and professional values I wish to emulate.
  • Secure materials about the specialty certification exam and review requirements.
  • Secure materials about the CSCS exam
  • Develop a plan of study for the board exam during the 3rd year.
  • Develop plans with specific goals for patients before attempting to treat 2 at a time


Course plan for Clinical Core, Electives and Doctoral Project

  • PHYT 752 Evidence Based Practice II

I will identify a clinical question related to an intervention plan for a shoulder impingement with  overhead athletes. I will complete a review of literature  and create an Evidence Table to answer my clinical question.

  • Elective 1: PHYT 875 Advanced Orthopedic Assessment and Intervention

Take the Ortho Elective offered by the program.  The purpose of this is to bring my clinical knowledge to be more consistent with current practice.

  • Elective 2: PHYT 800 Independent Study – APTA’s Current Concepts in Orthopedic Physical Therapy

For this course I would like to do an independent study focused on advancing my didactic and clinical skills in orthopedic physical therapy. I want to develop a greater depth of my knowledge and skills in this area of PT.


Doctoral Project

For this project I completed additional research about causes of shoulder impingement in the overhead athlete, specifically collegiate and professional baseball players, with a focus on the examination process and interventions to return them to playing. I created a voicethread for UNC students and faculty and a powerpoint presentation that I am presenting as an in-service the last week of my clinical rotation at Proaxis Therapy in Greer, SC which will discuss the predisposing factors, evaluation process, and interventions for subacromial impingement syndrome in this population. These materials can be found on the DPT Capstone website.


Reflective Statement and Assessment of Progress to Goals

I am so thankful for the opportunities I’ve had within UNC’s program to be mentored and form strong connections with many faculty members who I hold in high regard. I also am thankful to have the opportunity to work with such skilled physical therapists at Proaxis Therapy in Greer, SC. So far it has been a great experience. I am learning firsthand from a PT who has completed his OCS through Proaxis and one who completed his SCS and a shoulder fellowship with the Kansas City Royals through Proaxis, as well. They expand my skill set and broaden my clinical evaluation skills daily. It has also been beneficial to talk with them about different residency programs to give me an idea of what to look for in the future, in terms of mentors in the program, general set up of the program, and opportunities that will help me reach my goals. I also had the opportunity to attend Proaxis’ annual employee meeting, where the founders spoke to all residents and staff, and various therapists and researchers provided continuing education on shoulder and ACL pathologies. I have completed a mentor binder each week of the clinical thus far (ACL, Rotator Cuff Tears and Impingement, Cartilage, and Shoulder Instability) and led discussions with my location’s team. These coming weeks I have the opportunity to sit in on journal club meetings with the Proaxis OCS and SCS residents and observe the throwing clinic with their lead researchers.

I also am fortunate to have accepted a job with Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy in the metro area of Phoenix, AZ. This company has a residency program, a high focus on continuing education and evidence-based practice, and works with MLB teams, which is my ultimate goal. This hopefully will open many doors for me and will help me form professional relationships with therapist’s who are serving this population.

I have already implemented a study schedule for the licensure exam which I will sit for in July and have passed my jurisprudence exam for Arizona licensure. I have obtained the study materials for the CSCS, however have put off studying for that so I can better focus on my current rotation and board studying, which are my priorities.

One primary area I still need to work on and develop is my ability to perform differential diagnosis of orthopedic conditions, as Arizona is a direct access state and Foothills has over a 50% direct access population. I also want to become more efficient at my evaluation process, which I have improved on since beginning at Proaxis, however haven’t yet had the opportunity to evaluate a patient with shoulder pathology. I am hoping in the next 8 weeks of my rotation to progress in these areas to better prepare me for my future career.


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