May 29 2014

Rubio, Ryan

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Professional Goal Statement

My goal is to become an orthopedic clinical specialist (OCS) and work in an outpatient clinical setting. This will allow me to help a wide array of patients achieve their goals. In this setting I can work with geriatrics, athletes, post-surgical patients, or the weekend warriors who just wants to be able to get back exercising without pain. After graduation I would initially like to work in a hospital setting where I can rotate between acute, inpatient, and outpatient care. These settings typically operate at a slower pace, which would allow me to improve my skills and knowledge before moving into the fast-paced realm of outpatient orthopedics. After gaining several years of experience, I would like to teach for an accredited program so that I can share my experiences and skills with a new generation of PTs.

Self assessment


  • Interpersonal skills and establishing repoire with patients
  • Documentation and history taking skills
  • Manual therapy techniques
  • Experience as a PT aide and front office staff in private outpatient and hospital-based clinics
  • Previous experience managing and scheduling a staff

Areas for Professional Development

  • Continuing Education in relevant musculoskeletal rehabilitation techniques (ART, McKenzie Method, SASTM, Kinesio Taping)
  • Develop professional connections with other healthcare disciplines (doctors, surgeons, nutritionists, personal trainers, chiropractors, prosthetists)
  • Utilizing evidence based findings in daily clinical practice

Career Goals

Previous work history

  • 2003: Graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with B.A. in Communications
  • 2003-2008: Worked as production crew supervisor, production assistant, and commercial editor at WXII-12 News in Winston-Salem, NC
  • 2008-2009: PT Aide at Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC
  • 2010-2011: PT Aide at Comprehensive Physical Therapy in Chapel Hill, NC
  • 2011-2014: Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Post Graduate School Plans

  • Apply for PT Aide position or obtain temporary licensure to begin work and gain experience
  • Pass NPTE in October 2014 and become licensed in North Carolina
  • Begin work in a hospital which offers a variety of treatment settings
  • Become a CI in order to gain teaching and mentoring experience
  • Obtain OCS certification
  • Work full time in an outpatient orthopedic setting
  • Become a faculty member in a DPT program


  • Study relevant materials for 3-4 hours a day for 6 weeks in preparation for NPTE
  • Begin work in a setting where I can grow my skills, make connections, and have the ability to take relevant continuing education courses
  • Take APTA CI credentialing course
  • Review requirements for OCS certification and develop strategic plan for obtaining it
  • Obtain OCS certification and begin transition into full time outpatient setting
  • After at least 5 years working in an outpatient orthopedic setting, begin searching for teaching positions with accredited DPT programs

Relevant Coursework

  • Musculoskeletal I & II – These courses provided me with knowledge of various musculoskeletal conditions that affect the entire body, as well as with special tests to help identify them and protocols for rehabilitation.
  • Physical Therapy Intervention – This was an early introduction to fundamental PT techniques, such as transfers, assistive device training, manual muscle testing, and ROM measurements. No matter what setting I wind up in, these tools will be essential.
  • Cardiopulmonary & Other Organ Systems – This course provided essential knowledge for working in a hospital setting, which I am strongly considering doing after graduation. The materials provided early instruction in reading lab values and EKGs, understanding the effects of certain medications on heart and lung function, and potential treatments for patients with cardiopulmonary conditions.
  • Advanced Orthopedic Assessment – I took this course due to my interest in orthopedics. The content of this course helped to expand my knowledge of the tissues and structures that we treat in an orthopedic setting. I also wrote a research paper on common musculoskeletal injuries that occur with martial arts training, which was related to my capstone project.

Capstone Project

My doctoral project detailed the therapeutic benefits of martial arts training for pediatric patients. This project was inspired by my time on rotation in the Durham Public Schools, where I incorporated my background in taekwondo into my treatment sessions. In addition to discussing the available research, I provided  an educational brochure for parents and teachers and an instructional video of basic martial arts techniques that can be used by pediatric therapists. My presentation and supplemental materials can be found here:

Martial Arts as an Intervention for Pediatric Patients


Additional Presentations and Materials

Common Musculoskeletal Injuries in Martial Arts Training – This paper discusses common injuries that occur during martial arts training and strategies to avoid them.

Importance of Lab Values for Therapists in Acute Care Settings – This inservice was given to PTs in the acute care setting, and discussed the importance of reviewing a patient’s lab values prior to treatment. The presentation highlights key values and lists the normal ranges, as well as discussing some contraindications to treatment.

Shoulder Stretching Routine – This handout was designed to provide a shoulder stretching routine for a teenage wheelchair basketball player.

Reflective Statement

I was honored to have been accepted by the UNC DPT program, and the last three years have been an amazing ride. It was a privilege to learn from so many excellent instructors, and to do it alongside so many wonderful people. I have learned so much from my classmates and I am thankful to have had them with me on this journey. They have supported me in so many ways, and I couldn’t have done it without them. I was fortunate to have had excellent instructors at each of my clinical rotations, all of whom were passionate, skilled, and supportive. Seeing them work in a field they love truly brought this experience home to me. I am eager to take my board exams and begin a career that will give me a new sense of purpose and fulfillment. It was a joy to return to UNC and learn so much, and I look forward to continued lifelong learning process offered by this profession.

One response so far

One Response to “Rubio, Ryan”

  1.   Lisa Johnstonon 24 Jul 2014 at 2:59 am


    Congrats to you and for all of your accomplishments. I am excited to see how much you have grown. Good luck to you!



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