Mar 18 2015

Debnam, Deidra

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"When you look out in the distance, you see it never was that far." Fantasia Barrino, "I Believe"

“When you look out in the distance, you see it never was that far.” Fantasia Barrino, “I Believe”


Professional Goal

My professional goal is to become an expert in orthopedic and sports physical therapy. Through continuing education and clinical experience I will expand my knowledge in sports rehabilitation, including skilled use of various assessment and treatment techniques. Ultimately, my hope is to provide optimal physical therapy to athletes of all levels, from recreational athletes to elite athletes at the college and professional level. Throughout my career I will strive to promote diversity within the profession and provide mentorship to aspiring physical therapists.


Career Plan

Bachelor of Arts in Exercise in Sport Science (UNC Chapel Hill) – 2011

Sports Medicine Intern (United States Olympic Committee, Colorado Springs, Colorado) – 2012

Admission to UNC Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program – 2012

Acute Care Clinical Rotation (Sampson Regional Medical Center; Clinton, NC) – 2013

Outpatient Orthopedic Clinical Rotation (Trinity Wellness Center; Raleigh, NC) – 2014

Inpatient Neurological Clinical Rotation (Cape Fear Valley Medical Center; Fayetteville, NC) – 2014

Obtain Certified Strength and Conditioning Certification through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) – 2015

UNC Physical Therapy Outreach Service-Learning Trip to Guatemala – 2015

Sports Physical Therapy Rotation (Athletic Performance Center; Raleigh, NC) – 2015

Doctorate of Physical Therapy (UNC Chapel Hill) – 2015

Obtain Physical Therapy Licensure in the State of North Carolina – 2015

Secure Full-Time Employment in an Outpatient Orthopedic/Sports Physical Therapy Clinic – 2015

Ongoing Continuing Education and Professional Development

Serve on the Sports Medicine Team for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan


Self Assessment


  • Foundation in exercise and sport science.
  • Unique clinical experience with elite athletes at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO.
  • Active leadership roles throughout my graduate experience at UNC.
  • Actively engaged in activities that promote the profession of physical therapy through my role as an Allied Health Science Ambassador and as a member of the APTA.
  • Consistently demonstrates the core values of professionalism in physical therapy: accountability, altruism, compassion/caring, excellence, integrity, professional duty, and social responsibility.
  • Interpersonal communication skills with patients and colleagues.

Areas for Professional Development

  • Orthopedic and manual therapy clinical skills to aid in assessment and treatment.
  • Advanced clinical reasoning skills to assist with  development of appropriate exercise progressions for complex and higher-level patients.
  • Integration of components from various exercise activities (e.g., pilates, yoga, TRX suspension training, etc.) into physical therapy rehabilitation programs.
  • Knowledge in healthcare policy and management of financial resources, including billing and reimbursement guidelines.
  • Experience with delegating responsibilities to physical therapist assistants (PTAs) and providing appropriate supervision of PTAs and aides.



  1. Earn designation of Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist as defined by the NSCA Certification Committee.
  2. Graduate with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from UNC-Chapel Hill.
  3. Become a board certified physical therapist and obtain professional licensure to practice physical therapy in NC.
  4. Integrate academic knowledge and clinical experience to aid in the evaluation, assessment, and treatment of patients with musculoskeletal conditions through evidence-based practice.
  5. Successfully complete continuing education courses to develop manual therapy skills and use of various procedural interventions such as SASTM and Kinesio taping.
  6. Become an Functional Movement Screen (FMS) certified exercise professional to allow for proper integration into patient assessment and exercise prescription.
  7. Become a clinical instructor.


Strategic Plan

  1. Maintain active membership in the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and North Carolina Physical Therapy Association (NCPTA), and obtain membership in the Sports Physical Therapy Section of the APTA.
  2. Enroll in elective courses that will enhance my knowledge and clinical skills in orthopedic/sports physical therapy.
  3. Solicit donations from family and friends to support my participation in UNC Physical Therapy Outreach service-learning trip to Guatemala in April 2015.
  4. Complete a sports physical therapy rotation at one of the leading sports performance and physical therapy clinics in North Carolina.
  5. Develop and implement a structured study plan to facilitate organized and disciplined preparation for the National Physical Therapy Exam in October.
  6. Secure employment at an outpatient orthopedic/sports physical therapy clinic where I can learn under the mentorship of an experienced clinician to help foster clinical and professional growth and development.
  7. Perform regular self-evaluations to promote continual personal and professional development.


Third Year Electives and Coursework 

Fall 2014

  • Advanced Orthopaedic Assessment and Treatment (PHYT 875)
  • Integrated Clinical Experience (PHYT 870): UNC Therapy Services at NW Cary and UNC Family Medicine Center

Spring 2015 

  • UNC PT Outreach – Guatemala Service Learning Project (PHYT 895)
  • Independent Study for NSCA’s Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) certification exam (PHYT 800)

Samples of Coursework


Other Professional Activities 

  • Student Ambassador, UNC Department of Allied Health Sciences: 2012 – 2015
  • Vice-President, UNC Student Physical Therapy Association: 2013 – 2014
  • Co-Chair, 9th Annual UNC Division of Physical Therapy Golf Tournament: September 12, 2014
  • Student Advisory Committee, UNC Division of Physical Therapy: 2015
  • NC Student Legislative Day – Raleigh, NC: March 24, 2015
  • UNC Physical Therapy Outreach Service-Learning Trip to Guatemala: April 21 – 29, 2015
  • PT Day on Capitol Hill – Washington, DC: June 3-4, 2015




“Opportunity is in the challenge, hope is in the desire, and value is in the effort. Our great opportunity as a profession is in meeting the challenge to provide the best available care to our patients.” – RS Ward, 2008 APTA Presidential Address: Our Great Opportunity


The past three years have afforded me with challenging experiences and many more opportunities. The UNC DPT program has helped me develop as a professional, but has also contributed significantly to my personal development. The relationships I’ve developed with my UNC DPT family confirm that my decision in 2012 to attend UNC was the correct choice. I boast all the time about the unique diversity that exists within the 2015 UNC DPT class – each individual has brought unique experiences and personalities that have made the past three years enjoyable and enlightening. The academic rigor of the program has provided me with a solid foundation preparing me to be an entry-level physical therapist, while my experiences outside of the classroom have enhanced my clinical skills and professional engagement. Clinical rotations, service activities in NC and abroad, and participation in advocacy efforts have helped me transform into a well-rounded clinician and professional.

I am confident that the best is yet to come. I know that graduation on August 1st is not the end of a journey, but only the beginning. With my commitment to lifelong learning I will continue to strive to provide the best care to my patients. Finally, as I reflect on this journey – I realize that without God’s provision, the support of family, friends, and many others I’ve met along the way, this would not be possible. I am truly grateful. The help I’ve received along the way has only further inspired me to help others on their own journeys. In his APTA presidential address, Ben F Massey, Jr, PT, MA, stated, “You cannot choose not to influence. You can only choose how you will influence. The sum of choices we make about all of these opportunities to influence and to lead is the legacy of our career, or the legacy of our life.” I hope that my career as a physical therapist and my life reflect my commitment to service driven by a supreme purpose that gives my life greater meaning.


2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Debnam, Deidra”

  1.   Lisa Johnstonon 05 Jun 2015 at 2:04 am


    It has been a pleasure to work with you throughout the 3 years in class, with the golf tourney, in Guatemala and more. You have done an excellent job and I wish you all the best.


  2.   Carla Hillon 05 Jun 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Excellent effort on developing your professional portfolio and throughout your time at UNC. I have know doubt that you will achieve much success as you enter the professional world and continue to expand your knowledge and skills. I encourage you to consider a Sports PT Residency program, or at least working toward your SCS, in the coming years to further your passion for the athlete population.


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