Feb 25 2013

Smith, Alexandra

Published by


Alex Smith Gormley

DPT Class of 2013

Professional Goal Statement

My professional goal is to become a physical therapist in an inpatient rehabilitation setting, with a specific focus on patients with traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries.  As I continue to grow and evolve as a physical therapist, one of my major goals is to continue utilizing evidence-based practice to ensure that I am providing my patient’s with the most up-to-date research that will ultimately help them achieve their therapy goals. As a physical therapist I plan to hone my mentoring skills by guiding and supporting physical therapy students by becoming a trained clinical instructor.  I know how much my clinical instructors have helped shape me into the physical therapist that I am today, so I want to help do the same for students in the future. I also plan to use the strategies I have learned in school and throughout my rotations to become a promoter of health and wellness in the community.

Career Plan

I earned my Bachelor’s of Science in Rehabilitation Services from East Carolina University in 2008.  During the last semester of undergraduate school I got the opportunity to complete a 450-hour physical therapy internship at Vidant Hospital in Greenville, North Carolina.  This is where my love for physical therapy first blossomed and where I believe I first began to lay the foundation for my career in this wonderful field. Below is my subsequent career plan.

  • Complete an inpatient rehabilitation rotation on the spinal cord injury team
  • Pass the PT Board exam on July 24, 2013
  • Obtain my physical therapy license and graduate with my DPT in August of 2013.
  • Work in an inpatient rehabilitation setting (hopefully on the neuro or spinal cord team) or acute setting in the Washington, DC area for 2-3 years.
  • After approximately 2-3 years, I plan to move back to North Carolina with my husband and work in the inpatient rehabilitation setting in Raleigh North Carolina.
  • After 2-3 years of experience, I plan on taking the necessary continuing education courses to become a Clinical Instructor so that I can guide and mentor current physical therapy students.
  • By 2019, I plan to become a Neurologic Clinical Specialist (NCS) so that I can greatly benefit patients in the community who have neurological injures.
  • After receiving my NCS I would like to guest lecture at surrounding DPT programs so that I can pass on my knowledge to current students.
  • Retire 2053

Self Assessment

Areas of Strength

Areas for Further Professional Development

  • Strong professional and interpersonal skills, along with an eagerness to learn and continue developing as a physical therapist.
  • Awareness of my limitations and known responsibility to ask for guidance when necessary.
  • Treating patients in the spinal cord injury population as I have been on the spinal cord injury team in my acute rotation (8 weeks) and on my inpatient rehabilitation rotation (12 weeks).
  • Ability to utilize and implement best evidence-based practice.
  • Thorough documentation skills reflecting the skilled need for physical therapy services.
  • Ability to appropriately advance treatment plans for patients with  more complex medical needs/conditions.
  • Expanded knowledge on appropriate utilization of financial resources.
  • Increased Knowledge of Various Insurance Policies.
  • Continued confidence in my skills as a clinician.
  • Improvement in manual skills techniques.
  • Improved creativity with interventions.







  1. Study and pass the PT licensure exam in July of 2013.
  2. Complete my doctoral level school work and clinical training and graduate from UNC Chapel Hill in August of 2013.
  3. Obtain an acute PT or spinal cord injury inpatient rehabilition job at a company that offers a strong mentorship program for new graudates.
  4. Become a Neurologic Clinical Specialist.
  5. Serve as a mentor for prospective and current PT students so that I can continue to promote our great profession.


  1. Select third year elective courses that will provide increased knowledge in my areas of weakness.
  2. Develop and stick to an outlined study plan that will create opportunities for success on the PT licensure exam.
  3. Find employment in a setting where mentorship opportunities are readily available for new graduates.
  4. Attend continuing education classes that will give me the increased knowledge to continue with my goal to become a Neurologic Clinical Specialist.
  5. Participate in community healthcare initiatives where I can provide health and wellness resources to the underserved population.

Product Examples:

  1. As a part of our Evidence Based Practice Class and Capstone Project I developed a research paper addressing the question “For low-income patients, does a government-mandated universal coverage healthcare system result in a higher quality of life/healthier population compared to the current U.S. system?” For a practicing healthcare professional, knowledge of best practices and policies, not just from the United States, but from around the world, is essential in providing effective care.  It is especially important to explore health care systesm from countries that continually rate higher than the U.S. in health status. Please click ASG Capstone Research Paper if you would like an in-depth look at various health care systems around the world and how the U.S. stacks up.
  2. One of the major learning goals for my Capstone Project was to hone my mentoring skills by guiding and supporting undergraduate pre-professional students.  For me,  “mentor/teacher” is an incredibly important professional role because I strongly feel that the present trains the future.  I am excited and honored that through my Capstone, I can begin this role before I even graduate.  I developed a PowerPoint presentation entitled “A Third Year DPT Student Tells All,” which served as an  informative session for prospective PT students.
  3. As a part of our Health and Wellness Course I created “WalkSpace,” with the goal of increasing access to safe activity space for individuals of lower socioeconomic status by providing an intergenerational activity center that promotes family participation in more active lifestyles. Please see my “WalkSpace” initative HERE.
  4. As a part of our Advanced Neuromuscular Elective, I created a Wiki Page in which I examined the role that virtual reality can play in the treatment of Unilateral Spatial Neglect.  Please click HERE to see my Wiki page.
  5. As a part of our Advanced Orthopedic elective course, I completed a research paper examining the multiple etiologies of anterior hip pain.  Please take a look at this paper! 🙂


It is so hard to believe that in a little less than two months I will be graduating with my DPT from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill!  I feel so proud to be a part of this graduating class and can’t wait to walk across the stage with some of the best people and future PT’s that I know! Although these three years have been incredibly tough, I already realize that all of the studying has been worth it! I feel so honored to be in such a wonderful, helping profession and can’t wait to use the knowledge I have learned at UNC to advocate for our profession and to provide optimal treatment to my patients. 🙂


2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Smith, Alexandra”

  1.   Vicki Merceron 12 Jun 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Hi Alex,
    Congratulations! It’s a pleasure to welcome you as a member of this truly amazing, incredibly fulfilling profession. I know that you will do great things in the world of neuro PT.

    Best of luck with all your future plans –



  2.   Lisa Johnstonon 27 Jun 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Congrats on all you have accomplished during these 3 years. You have done many great things and I know you will go on to do more in the future. Nice job on the portfolio. It reflects well on you.


Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply