Feb 25 2013

Suggs, Lauren

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Professional Goal Statement

It is my aim to become a well-rounded clinician with a broad knowledge base of physical therapy diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment across various practice settings.  Specifically, my goal is to dive deeper into the area of neurologic physical therapy by completing a neurologic physical therapy residency and/or becoming a board certified neurologic specialist within five years after obtaining my DPT.  This will enable me to acquire in depth knowledge about neurologic diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment so that I can best serve a patient population that I am passionate about and provide the level of care that they need.  


Career Plan

  • BA in Exercise and Sports Science; Spanish for the Professions minor—UNC Chapel Hill, May 2010
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy—UNC Chapel Hill, August 2013
  • Acute Care and Inpatient Rehabilitation Experience—2013-2015
  • Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency—2015-2016
  • Board Certified as Neurologic Specialist—by 2018


Self Assessment


Areas for Professional Development

  • Organized, thorough and detailed oriented
  • Empathetic and patient-oriented
  • Good communicator
  • Critical thinker
  • Servant leader
  • Able to communicate in Spanish
  • Dedicated to making contributions to the field of physical therapy through in-depth study with a neurologic focus


  • Confidence and efficiency in patient examination/evaluation and in developing an appropriate treatment plan
  • Determining time frames for an established plan of care
  • Larger knowledge base of therapeutic exercise and progressions of such exercise
  • More knowledge about coding/billing of services
  • More knowledge about prognosis and expected outcomes for different orthopedic/neurologic diagnoses
  • Expansion of my Spanish-speaking skills
  • Commitment to life long learning by attending conferences, continuing education classes, etc.















  1. Gain additional clinical experience during third year by either working in a faculty clinic, UNC-hospitals or another setting.
  2. Complete doctoral level training and prepare to sit for licensure exam in October 2013.
  3. Gain experience working with patients with neurologic diagnoses by gaining employment in an acute care/inpatient rehabilitation setting after graduation.
  4. Apply and be accepted to a Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency that is credentialed by the APTA.
  5. Become credentialed by the APTA as a Neurologic Certified Specialist.


Specific Strategies

  1. Choose elective courses that will better prepare me to meet my objectives.
  2. Inquire about continuing a possible mentorship with UNC-Hospitals in either an outpatient or inpatient setting.
  3. Inquire more about a neurologic physical therapy residency and determine what the program requires and the potential benefits of completing the program.
  4. Gather information about what is required to become a neurologic certified specialist and obtain necessary materials to study for the specialty exam.
  5. Network with practicing clinicians and other healthcare professionals in order to learn more about job opportunities across different practice settings.


Course Plan for Electives and Doctoral Project


For the first elective I will be choosing the integrated clinical experience.  I learn better and absorb more information in a clinical setting and I think this elective will allow me to see how different therapists practice and will enable me to gain confidence in practicing independently, improve efficiency during treatment sessions, and to gather more effective treatment ideas.


For the second elective I will be choosing advanced neuromuscular intervention.  It is my hope that this course will be the beginning of gaining in depth knowledge of neurologic physical therapy diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment.  I think this class will allow me to dive deeper into an area I’m interested in and will help me determine if I do want to practice with a neurologic focus.

Doctoral Project

For my doctoral project I explored the literature and developed an exercise program that stroke survivors can easily and safely complete in their home.  To accompany the video, I developed an educational handout that reviews the benefits of exercise after stroke, outlines general exercise guidelines after stroke, and offers suggestions for how to use the video.  Here is a link to my capstone website.


Product Samples

During the past three years I’ve explored and learned about many different topics, a few of which I will share with you here.


During my first clinical rotation, I worked in a hospital where we saw several patients status post mastectomy due to breast cancer.  Many therapists in the hospital did not have much experience working with this patient population, so I developed a presentation on rehabilitation after breast cancer surgery and presented it as an inservice to my co-workers.


During my second clinical rotation, I worked in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro school system.  This was an invaluable experience where I learned about the world of pediatrics and what it looks like to work in a school setting.  During that time, I worked closely with a Spanish-speaking child with cerebral palsy who underwent a femoral derotational osteotomy.  In order to help his parents better understand the procedure and what to expect afterwards, I created an educational handout in both English and Spanish.  This handout will continue to be used by the school system.


In Health and Wellness, I began researching the impact of stroke on individuals living in North Carolina and developed a proposal for a community-based exercise program for stroke survivors living in the Eastern part of the state.  This program was designed to improve and retain mobility, functional capacity, and balance, as well as overall fitness.


In Advanced Neuromuscular Intervention, I dove deeper into the topic of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and wrote a paper discussing the epidemiology, pathology and physiology of mild TBI, interventions for this population, and the impact this diagnosis has on activity, participation, and quality of life.



It’s really hard to believe that my time as a UNC DPT student is coming to a close.  The past three years have flown by and there are many days when I still feel like I’m a first year student.  When I realize that graduation is on the horizon, I’m thankful that I’m not a first year anymore!  Throughout this journey I couldn’t have asked for better classmates or a better faculty.  I have made some wonderful friends though this program and I think I can speak for my class when I say that we all feel like a little family.  When I look at the pictures below I am reminded of all that we have accomplished together and I smile.  I couldn’t have done it without you, DPT ’13!


While the past three years have been full of learning from professors, clinicians, and classmates, I look forward to the learning that I will continue to do after graduation!  Physical therapy school has provided me with a foundation for my education and as I move on from UNC, I want to be committed to lifelong learning so that I can grow into the physical therapist that I’ve been trained to be.  Without a faculty that embraces and lives out this concept, I don’t think I would understand the importance of lifelong learning.  Therefore, I want to say thank you to each faculty member for being such a great example, for being so committed to the students that you teach, and for walking beside me as I journey toward becoming a DPT 🙂 I look forward to keeping in touch with all of you in the years to come!

UNC-DPT 2013


6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Suggs, Lauren”

  1.   Vicki Merceron 12 Jun 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Hi Lauren,
    Congratulations to you on your upcoming graduation, and on choosing the best specialty area (neuro, of course)! You will be an excellent PT. I look forward to seeing all of the wonderful things you will accomplish through your work with individual patients and on behalf of the PT profession!

    Best wishes always-


  2.   Mike McMorrison 24 Jun 2013 at 9:40 pm

    Well done on your portfolio, I especially appreciate your interest in being a lifelong learner. This will keep you motivated and growing throughout your career.

    Best regards,
    mike m


  3.   Carla Hillon 25 Jun 2013 at 1:27 am

    Looks like you have had a great variety of experiences throughout your DPT curriculum and clinical experiences. Even though I wasn’t your instructor, it was a pleasure having you in the clinic last fall for ICE. You were always positive and helpful. Keep striving for excellence!


  4.   Lisa Johnstonon 27 Jun 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Thanks for sharing your portfolio. You have much to be proud of from your work here. I am excited that I had an opportunity to travel to Guatemala with you and very thankful for your help in 720 last year. You are going to do great things for the profession and for your patients. Good luck!


  5.   Debbie Thhorpeon 01 Jul 2013 at 7:42 pm

    I enjoyed reading all that you have accomplished over your tenure here in the program!! I truly appreciate your community work as well with a young man with CP. He and his family benefited from your expertise and enthusiasm. You will go on to do great things!! Please stay in touch!
    Good luck!!


  6.   Culture Ville40on 19 Feb 2020 at 5:45 am

    You could definitely see your enthusiasm in the
    article you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers
    like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. All the time follow your heart.


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