Mar 18 2015

Hehn, Cara

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Cara Hehn Portfolio

UNC DPT 2015

Professional Goal Statement: After earning my DPT and becoming a certified physical therapist, I intend to work with the neurological population in the inpatient rehabilitation and acute settings, with a focus on incorporating evidence based practice to ensure functional gains, individualized care, and an improved quality of life for all patients. Through the use of my own personal continued education, I strive to maximally contribute to the interdisciplinary comprehensive healthcare team, and become a leader in the field as well as an advocator for all patients.

My Journey to Achieving My Goals

Cara’s Journey

Self Assessment:


  -Patient Interaction

     -Communication with interdisciplinary healthcare team

-Background in exercise science and cardiac rehabilitation


-Seeking and incorporating feedback

-Passionate for neurological inpatient rehabilitation and motivated for continue and further my education

– Family support and contacts within the physical therapy field


Areas to be Further Developed

-Clinical reasoning and judgment with experience

-Continued inpatient rehabilitation exposure, specifically to various diagnosis such as TBI, MS, Conversion, and SCI

-Continued education with attending professional conferences and renewing my APTA membership

– Exposure and experience to intervention tools for the neurological population, such as Bioness, prosthetic and orthotic use, and various methods of gait training, such as the Lite Gait.

-Use of defensive documentation, particularly for request of necessary equipment.

-Knowledge of medical procedures and their impact of physical therapy.


  • Prepare for and pass the Licensure exam in the fall of 2015.
  • Gain exposure to the neurological population and prepare for the Neuro Clinical Specialist Examination.
  • Complete a Neurological Residency to gain further competence and expertise in the neurological rehabilitation setting.
  • Become an active member of the APTA Neuro Boston Section.
  • Continue perusing philanthropic endeavors through providing service to underserved communities in the Boston MA area by finding a regular volunteering opportunity in relation to physical therapy.

Specific Strategies:

  • Make a plan for the licensure exam and a corresponding study schedule.
  • Make a calendar of continuing education opportunities and mark off high priority dates
  • Work on solidifying my resume and finding local references, as well as exploring job opportunities within the Boston MA area.
  • Seek out a mentor whose passions for neurological rehabilitation align with my own, and whose clinical expertise and degree of professionalism are at a level which I strive to reach.
  • Formulate and follow through with a study plan for the specialty examination.
  • Research Residency programs focused on excelling competence in the physical therapy field of neurological rehabilitation.

Plans for Courses and Electives for Fall 2014 and Spring 2015

Evidenced Based Practice II

During the fall of 2014 I will be taking EBP II, in which I will choose a question in PICO fashion and delve into evidence to create a critically appraised topic. I will be focusing my PICO topic on an intervention for the neurological population in order to not only become more familiar with evidence based interventions for this population, but also the common variables that also need to be considered, such as frequency of intervention and comorbidities of patients affecting treatment.

PHYT 880 Child/Family Assessment and Intervention

The elective I will be choosing for fall 2014 will be Child/Family Assessment and Intervention. I chose this elective due to the inclusion of the pediatric neurologic population, and the fact that I have had very little pediatric experience and would like to expand my knowledge in this area.

PHYT 885  Advanced Neuromuscular Intervention

The elective I have chosen for the spring of 2015 is Advanced Neuromuscular Intervention. As someone who is primarily interested in going into the inpatient and acute setting with a neurological focus, this course is a must. In this course I plan to expand my knowledge regarding different neurological diagnoses, and also evaluate and seek evidence for interventions for these diagnoses.

Capstone Project:

My capstone project was focused on visual feedback intervention techniques to improve balance within the post-stroke population.  The purpose of this project was to provide education and information for second year DPT students in regards to neurological intervention techniques and the evidence behind them to further prepare them for clinical rotations. I was fortunate to have the assistance of  my advisor for the program, and neuro professor, Vicki Mercer, as well as a former clinical instructor Miranda Bunge, and a practicing physical therapist experienced with the post-stroke population in the Boston area, Marie Lucey. I was able to combine observation experience, clinical experiences, and evidenced based research to create a Voicethread Presentation.

Product Examples:

During the course of the my three years in the UNC Chapel Hill DPT program, my interests have remained largely in the rehabilitation of neurologically diagnosed individuals, with a specific passion for the post-stroke population. Therefore, whenever possible, I tried to focus academic work on this passion, and was able to focus both my CAT and my Capstone Project on treatment of the post-stroke population, focusing on the different forms of feedback for my CAT and narrowing in specifically on visual feedback for my Capstone Project, and the clinical application of the evidence. Additionally, I chose electives during my third year that were focused on this patient population. My focus on neurological rehabilitation has prepared me for my final clinical rotation in inpatient rehabilitation, and will further benefit me when job searching for a position in either the acute or inpatient setting.


Upon starting the UNC DPT program in the fall of 2012, my experience with treatment of the neurological setting consisted of my occasional encounter with a post-stroke patient in cardiac rehabilitation. However, over the past three years I feel my knowledge has greatly expanded, not only in regards to the post-stroke population, but also inclusive of other neurological diagnoses such as spinal cord injury and TBI. I feel my focus this past year on gaining more knowledge and experience with the neurological population through elective choices, project focus, observations, and my final clinical rotation, will be a benefit to me as my job search progresses, and will continue to benefit the patients I treat in years to come.

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Hehn, Cara”

  1.   Vicki Merceron 05 Jun 2015 at 1:37 am

    Hi Cara – Great job on this! So glad to see your continued commitment to neuro PT and to obtaining specialist certification in neuro. I wish you all the best!



  2.   Lisa Johnstonon 05 Jun 2015 at 2:24 am


    Nice job on your portfolio! It was nice to see your work and progress though the program. Great job!


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