Feb 25 2013

Waddell, Elizabeth

Published by

Elizabeth Waddell

UNC DPT Doctoral Portfolio


Professional Goal Statement

My goal is to work with patients with neurologic conditions in an outpatient physical therapy clinic that promotes comprehensive care and teamwork and values the importance of education, wellness, and prevention.  Specifically, I hope to work for a local hospital system with opportunities for professional development.

Career Plan

Career Plan



  • 29 weeks of clinical experience in outpatient settings.
  • In-depth knowledge of MS diagnosis, treatments, and experience working with patients with MS.
  • 6 years of experience teaching private Pilates, group exercise, and dance.

Areas for Professional Development

  • Gain more clinical experience in different settings particularly acute care and inpatient rehabilitation.
  • Improve clinical reasoning skills to effectively manage complex patient cases
  • More experience with manual skills


  • Develop clinical skills through structured mentorship
  • Take advantage of professional development opportunities relating to the patient population(s) I see most frequently
  • Stay current with evidence-based research to inform clinical decisions

Specific Strategies 

  • Maintain APTA membership to utilize access to EBP resources
  • Attend continuing education courses and conferences
  • Seek out educational opportunities within the organization I am employed
  • Continue involvement in MS STEP UP

Product Examples

During the 2nd and 3rd year of the DPT program, I participated in a MS scholarship track, MS STEP UP.   For my final doctoral project my classmate, Jen Tooher, and I identified a need in the PT community for evidence-based information regarding interventions for persons with MS.  To address this need, we created online educational modules for physical therapists to improve knowledge about MS.

The online modules are hosted on a google site:  http://sites.google.com/site/MSmodules

The modules include:

  • Introduction – Basic overview.  What is MS?
  • MS Examination – Considerations for PT examination of patients with MS
  • MS Symptom Management: Weakness, Spasticity, Balance, and Gait
  • Outcome Measures – Recommendations for MS

Jen and I presented a poster at CMSC 2013 to share our modules:

CMSC 2013 Poster Presentation

On the module website, there are several evidence tables highlighting research on interventions for MS.  One evidence table for Postural Control in MS  was initially created as an assignment for the EBP II class in Fall 2012.  The evidence table led to the creation of a research paper about postural control in MS.  The paper sought to answer the question:  In patients age 30-50 with multiple sclerosis and impaired balance, are interventions to improve postural control more effective in decreasing falls risk than resistance exercise?  The short answer is yes, postural control interventions are more effective.  For the long answer, read my Research Paper evaluating postural control vs resistance exercise for balance impairment.

Reflective Statement

I am in awe at how much I have learned and grown in the past three years.  Under the guidance of the wonderful UNC faculty, I have accomplished more than I ever thought possible.  I am also thankful for the opportunity to participate in the MS STEP UP track.  Through this experience I have developed a passion for working with patients with multiple sclerosis and other neurologic conditions.  I look forward to working as a physical therapist and building upon the strong foundation of clinical skills I am graduating with.

Lastly, a big thank you to my classmates for sharing this journey.  Way to go DPT 2013!



3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Waddell, Elizabeth”

  1.   Michelle O'Neillon 12 Jun 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Little Liz I miss you! Hope NY is treating you well and you are no doubt rocking your affil. I love the layout of your portfolio and your past experiences definitely add a lot to what you have to offer to your patients. Congrats on all that you’ve accomplished and continue to add to this impressive list! -Michelle


  2.   Mike Grosson 24 Jun 2013 at 8:19 pm

    Liz- Very nice job throughout the program. You’ve done well on all fronts. I really enjoyed having you in clinic with me. Mike Gross


  3.   Lisa Johnstonon 27 Jun 2013 at 9:06 pm

    Thanks for sharing your portfolio. You have a lot to be proud of. I am really impressed with the work you have done for the MS program. Your commitment to learning and helping in whatever area possible has shown. Nice job displaying your work, and nice job throughout the program as well. Congrats and good luck.


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