Feb 25 2013

O’Neill, Michelle

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Professional Goal Statement

My goal is to be employed in an acute care setting in North Carolina with treatment including wound care in addition to the typical acute care case load. I desire to see a variety of diagnoses and to provide care for patients of all ages. I will maintain the ethical and clinical standards set forth by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners, and the American Physical Therapy Association. I will utilize the Evidence Based Practice strategies that I have learned from UNC to provide quality, personal, and complete patient care.


Career Plan

-> Complete DPT 2013
-> Pass PT Board exam and attain license 2013
-> Continue to build upon Spanish skills learned in Guatemala
-> Employment in acute care setting in North Carolina
-> Attend continuing education courses regarding nutrition, wound care, and acute care techniques and apply this knowledge when treating and educating my patients
-> Certified Wound Specialist 2018 (requires 3 years of clinical experience in wound care before application for certification)


Self Assessment


• Has extensive experience and knowledge of wound care management in an acute care and outpatient setting
• Understands importance of nutrition on wound healing and is proficient with patient education
• Has ample clinical experience working with patients of all ages with a variety of diagnoses
• Skill in finding, analyzing, and applying literature
• Strong communication skills; interdisciplinary approach
• Eager learner; pursues knowledge and shares it with others
• Builds rapport rapidly


Areas for Professional Development

• Needs more experience working in an ICU setting and managing lines, leads, tubes, and devices
• Has yet to complete the required course necessary for certification as wound care specialist
• Needs to continue to improve Spanish skills
• Needs more work experience to develop professional relationships and contacts



1. Pass the National PT board exam.
2. Become more active in the NCPTA.
3. Gain experience working in acute care setting and attend conference specializing in acute care treatment techniques.
4. Become Certified Wound Specialist.
5. Complete continuing education courses regarding comprehensive and collaborative care for specific patient populations.


Specific Strategies

• Complete review of prep materials and text books to pass the NPTE.
• Complete clinical at UNC hospital. Actively participate in the ICU setting to gain experience managing complex patients with lines, leads, and tubes.
• After working for two years after graduation, attain study materials for wound care and prepare for certification.


Product Examples of Clinical Courses/Electives

~Health and Wellness: This course prepared me to address all patient needs, better equipped me to deliver patient education, and taught me how to identify the need for and plan a community-wide intervention. My proposal sought to establish a 12-week walking program for low-income, African American pregnant females.

~Evidence-Based Practice II: The end product of this course was a paper that synthesized the available literature on a topic of our choice. By first creating an evidence table, I was then able to analyze the outcomes of studies that investigated use of pulsatile lavage or non-contact low-frequency ultrasound therapy on stage III and IV pressure ulcers. This in-depth research provided clinical knowledge for my interest in wound care.

~Wound Care Independent Study: I decided to design an independent study for one of my elective choices so that I could gain the clinical experience that would prepare me for my career. I created an in-service for my peers to share the clinical pearls I had learned.

~Service-Learning Trip to Guatemala: I, collaboratively with another PT and a translator, created a pressure ulcer positioning guide to educate nursing as well as patients of Las Obras, a hospital in Antigua, Guatemala. Together with another PT, we provided an in-service that discussed prevention strategies, the importance of nutrition, and treatment methods of pressure ulcers. The majority of my conversation was in Spanish.

~Service-Learning Trip to Tyrrell County, NC: I created and presented an in-service to medical providers at the Tyrrell County Medical Clinic that focused on evidence-based treatment of diabetic foot ulcers, venous leg ulcers, and pressure ulcers.  I created single-page reference guides for clinical use that summarized the evidence-based management of these conditions, as well as supplementary patient education pamphlets for each.  These are still being used in their clinic today.


Doctoral Project

Wound care has been identified as a weakness for many of the students; therefore, I was asked to create an extensive wound care module for use in the Musculoskeletal I curriculum.  Topics included treatment techniques, modalities, dressing options, nutrition strategies, indications/contraindications, documentation, and common diagnoses including diabetic foot ulcers, venous stasis ulcers, pressure ulcers, abscesses, and dehisced sutures.  I created ten multiple choice and short answer test questions for academic use.  In addition, I created a quick reference chart that can be used for choosing an appropriate dressing for each stage pressure ulcer, as well as an evidence table that describes available dressings for all types of wounds.  Please visit dptcapstone.web.unc.edu and find my name on the left side of the page to see my work.


Reflection Statement

Though the road to earning a DPT was quite challenging and I questioned if it was the right choice at times, I cannot wait to begin my career in an acute care setting treating patients.  During this last year, school transformed into so much more for me.  The relationships I’ve gained along the way were unexpected and are invaluable.  I cannot wait to use the skills I have learned to help others.  Someday I hope to pay it forward and create relationships with students in the same way that UNC did for me to positively influence career aspirations.  I cannot say thank you enough to the faculty and staff of the UNC program.  I will uphold the high standards you set forth.

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