May 29 2014

Leedy, Austin

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Professional Goal:

To acquire a job as an acute care physical therapist to broaden my abilities to provide evidence based care to a variety of patient populations in order to become a confident generalist prior to pursuing a focus in neuromuscular physical therapy.



  • Clinical Exposure to Neurological/Trauma Population:  CIMT Camp (Helping Kids with Hemiplegia), UNC Burn Unit/Burn ICU, Post-Stroke/Post-Neurosurgical/Neuro ICU at Carolinas Medical Center Main, Spinal Cord Injury team at Carolinas Rehabilitation – Main.
  • Communication skill with an interdisciplinary team to provide well rounded care to neurological population.
  • Reading and interpreting research literature to improve upon EBP.
  • Leadership skills and experience in coordinating large fundraisers


  • Need to increase my knowledge on advanced PT interventions.
  • Need improve my background in musculoskeletal/orthopedics for treatment of multi-trauma patients.
  • Need to improve upon my vestibular knowledge for diagnosis/treatment
  • Need learn more detailed knowledge on wheelchair assessments/prescription, adaptive equipment, and insurance coverage.

Career Plan & Goals

Past History:

  • BS Exercise Science, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, December 2010

3 Year and Current Goals:

  • Attend UNC DPT Outreach Service Learning Trip in Antigua, Guatemala
  • Attend APTA CSM and APTA NEXT conferences to increase knowledge and professional experience
  • Complete clinical rotation at UNC Outpatient Neurology
  • Licensure Exam, July 2014
  • Obtain Doctor of Physical Therapy, August 2014

Future Goals:

  • Acquire job in acute care setting, August 2014
  • Enter a mentorship program and gain confidence in treating a variety of patient populations including ICU’s/Trauma, August 2014
  • Network with other neurological physical therapists through NCSCIA, ASCIP, 2015
  • Consider applying for Neurological Residency, 2015
  • Attain job in inpatient rehabilitation setting on a spinal cord injury team, 2017
  • Pass Neuro Clinical Specialist exam, 2018
  • Attain job in outpatient neurological rehabilitation setting working primarily with Spinal Cord Injury patients, 2025
  • Start my own outpatient neurological private practice, 2030

Specific Strategies

  • Take the musculoskeletal and neurologic elective at UNC to improve upon my knowledge of interventions for multi-trauma patients.
  • Identify projects for clinical course requirements that will increase my knowledge in musculoskeletal trauma, traumatic neurologic diagnoses, and spinal cord injuries.
  • Network with NCS in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill and Charlotte areas.
  • Continue to broaden my experience with neurologic diagnoses through extracurricular, clinical, and volunteer opportunities.
  • Collaborate with mentors, UNC professors, and SCI physical therapists to develop SCI-related Capstone project

Course plan for Clinical Core, Electives and Doctoral Project

Elective #1: PHYT 875, Advanced Orthopedic Assessment

In fall 2013, I completed this class to expand my musculoskeletal skill-set to improve upon my abilities to diagnose, assess, and treat orthopedic conditions. Though my interests are focused in neuromuscular physical therapy, I recognized my need to improve this skill-set in order to provide well-rounded care for patients with multi-trauma impairments.

Elective #2:  PHYT 885, Advanced Neuromuscular Intervention

In spring 2014, I completed this class to improve upon my background knowledge of and skilled interventions for a variety of neurological disorders to prepare myself for my outpatient neuromuscular clinical rotation in summer 2014. Additionally, I took the opportunity to explore neurological diagnoses I was unfamiliar with as well as further my knowledge regarding my area of interest, spinal cord injury.

PHYT: 860, Advanced Clinical Practice

I identified a clinical question related to an intervention plan for spinal cord injury patients with paraplegia:  Prevention of shoulder pain and injury in individuals with paraplegia. I reviewed evidence-based research and outcome measures to perform a review of literature related to this clinical question.

Doctoral Project

For this project I expanded my clinical questions from PHYT:860 to include all individuals whom rely on manual wheelchairs as a primary mod of mobility. First, I identified mentors to assist me with the direction of this project as well as continued to delve further into my research on this question.

 Product Samples:

After completing both my acute care rotation and my inpatient rehabilitation rotation on the SCI team, I decided to spend my third year delving deeper into neurological diagnoses, specifically, spinal cord injury. During my Evidence Based Practice II course, I performed a Literature Review regarding the prevention of shoulder pain and overuse injuries in individual’s with paraplegia. This contributed to my Capstone project, which was expanded to include all manual wheelchair users. For my project, I created a Voicethread presentation on the aforementioned topic and two patient handouts:  one on strategies for reducing shoulder pain/injury and a home exercise program focused on shoulder strengthening and stretching. View my full project website here: Leedy DPT Capstone Website.  Additionally, I created an inservice presentation presented at Carolinas Medical Center on Myasthenia Gravis in which I created a Inservice PowerPoint and a Myasthenia Gravis Patient Brochure.

Reflective Statement:

I entered UNC-Chapel Hill’s DPT program with the expectation of pursuing my dream of becoming an excellent well-rounded clinician. The program far exceeded my expectations of my journey to my DPT; However, I did not expect to grow in so many other areas of my life.  I also learned to develop myself professionally through attendance to multiple national conferences and involvement in legislative processes. I developed my leadership skills through coordinating a large fundraising event for the Foundation of Physical Therapy, my communication skills through classroom/online interaction with classmates and clinicians, and teamwork skills through working with multiple interdisciplinary teams throughout each of my clinical rotations.

I believe the aforementioned skills will help me to become a successful health professional. Most importantly, UNC also taught me an invaluable skill—self-confidence. This was achieved through the support of multiple professors who continually worked hard to make my academic goals come true, Lisa Johnston and the rest of the office staff whose hard work helped Allison and I create a successful golf tournament, the support of Mike McMorris who went above and beyond to mentor me through my Integrated Clinical Experience elective, the support of my Capstone committee who shared my excitement for my project focus and the SCI population, and finally, the support of my amazing classmates whose confidence in me never waivered. I could not be happier to join the amazing community of UNC DPT Alumni and am excited to one day collaborate together as a team!

My amazing UNC DPT 2014 Family!




3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Leedy, Austin”

  1.   KMacon 02 Jul 2014 at 2:15 am

    Hi Austin – Psyched that you’re interested in a neuro residency and possible NCS exam – YAY neuro nerds. The most fun segment of PT practice (shh…..:) don’t tell. I am happy to help in any way I can re: residency links (I know lots of people who run these programs), preparation for NCS exam, and possible Section activities.
    Just be in touch!


  2.   Lisa Johnstonon 24 Jul 2014 at 2:13 am


    I am so happy for you and all you have accomplished. You have really grown and I know you are going to be a leader. Thanks for all your hard work on the golf tourney. You and Allison did an amazing job. We will miss you here at UNC so please stay in touch! Good luck!



  3.   Mike McMorrison 24 Jul 2014 at 10:01 pm


    Great job on your portfolio. Thanks for pouring so much of yourself into the eDPT program and continuing to seek challenges. You’ve done some great things, looking forward to watching your continued growth as a PT!

    Best regards,
    Mike M


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