Mar 18 2015

Rapp, Laura

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Professional Goal Statement:

My goal is to establish myself as an effective, analytical, creative, and empathetic physical therapist that advocates for both my patients and my profession in a variety of settings throughout my career. Following 1-3 years of clinical experience, I plan on completing a pediatric residency program and becoming a pediatric clinical specialist and instructor.  I hope to always pursue new challenges and opportunities to advance my career while continuing to follow my passions and improve the overall function and quality of life of both my patients and community both here in North Carolina and abroad.


Career Plan:

# = Completed

  • August 2008 – May 2012: Compete as a Division 1 NCAA athlete and gain experience in the rehabilitation setting#
  • May 2012: Earn my Bachelor of Science in Health and Exercise Science degree Summa Cum Laude from Wake Forest University#
  • March 2015: Pass the UNC Division of Physical Therapy Comps Exam to qualify to take the NPTE in July#
  • August 2015: Earn my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from UNC-Chapel Hill
  • July-August 2015: Receive a passing score on the NPTE to become a licensed DPT
  • September-December 2015: Begin working in a pediatric orthopedic clinic
  • 2017-2019: Be accepted into and complete a pediatric residency program
  • 2020: Become a clinical instructor




  • Clinical rotation experience working with a wide array of patient populations and diagnoses; completed rotations in acute care at a large regional hospital; pediatrics in the school system as well as an outpatient setting, outpatient orthopedics at a hospital-affiliated wellness center
  • Developed strong relationships with previous clinical instructors and physical therapists in the triangle/triad/Asheville, and Chicago areas.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • General knowledge and skill in fitness and wellness interventions.
  • Experience in leading groups and managing teams.
  • Background working as an educator, counselor, and coach for pediatric populations in soccer/running camps
  • Ability to connect and empathize with individuals quickly and effectively.


Areas for Further Development

  • No work experience as a physical therapist.
  • Experience with neurological and geriatric clinical cases
  • Opportunities to further develop leadership, teaching and management skills.
  • Further experience with billing, charges, and reimbursement policies
  • Expansion upon understanding of business development



Areas of special interest in pediatrics and outpatient orthopedics with emphasis on patient-centered care from infancy to early adulthood:

  • Prepare and sit for the NPTE Licensure exam in July 2015
  • Attain a job in pediatric or outpatient orthopedic setting by November 2015
  • Attain a pediatric physical therapy residency in order to enhance clinical, research and teaching skills
  • Continue to challenge myself professionally and personally and maintain my passion for physical therapy


Specific Strategies

  • Select electives that will expand upon clinical interests:
    • PHYT875 Advanced Orthopedic Elective – I pursued this elective to gain a deeper understanding of the physiology, histology, and biomechanics of the body that play a role in orthopedic physical therapy. During this elective, I analyzed the current literature the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of congenital arthrogryposis – a pediatric condition that affects children worldwide.
    • PHYT 824 Health and Wellness – During this course, I developed a plan for a community-based resistance exercise program for teens and young adults with Down Syndrome (TREDS).
    • AHSC864 Developmental Disabilities Across the Lifespan elective – I took this elective through Allied Health Sciences in order to expand my knowledge and understanding of the interdisciplinary treatment of common developmental disabilities as they affect individuals of all ages.
    • Spring 2015 Integrated Clinical Experience in Outpatient Orthopedics – During this elective, I worked with one of the UNC physical therapists in an outpatient orthopedic clinic in Cary in order to increase my understanding and clinical competence in the outpatient orthopedic setting.
  • Develop a study plan, prepare accordingly, and take the Federation of State Boards Physical Therapy Exam
  • Take part in elective courses, continuing education courses, presentations, and certifications to augment my knowledge of pediatric and orthopedic physical therapy
  • Maintain an APTA membership to stay up to date on the most evidence based practices
  • Gather information and talk with mentors about pediatric residency programs and certifications


Additional Projects and Presentations

  • PHYT752/854: Capstone Project: Graft Choices and Outcomes in Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: A Guide for PT Students

The objective of my capstone project was to explore the scientific literature in terms of the relationship between graft choice and outcomes in individuals who have undergone anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. With my classmate, Reid Medlin, we synthesized our findings in order to develop educational material for physical therapy students on clinical rotation. During this project, I not only gained further insight into the role of the ACL and the way in which graft choice may affect rehabilitation and outcomes, but I also was able to expand upon my understanding of treatment options and the role of the physical therapist in ACL rehabilitation. Furthermore, I gained experience collaborating and coordinating with my peer in order to create an effective educational module to assist in the learning of other physical therapy students.

Laura Rapp – Capstone website

  • PHYT765: Clinical Education Seminar II: In-Service: Cognitive Indicators for Powered Mobility in Infants/Toddlers

This in-service was presented during my second clinical rotation in pediatrics within a local school system. The presentation provided information about types of powered mobility, how to tell whether a child is ready to use powered mobility, and suggestions for choosing and teaching the use of powered mobility for very young children.

  • PHYT765: Clinical Education Seminar III: In-Service: Managing and Treating Patients with Ventricular Assist Devices in the Acute Rehabilitation Setting

This presentation was given as an in-service during my third clinical rotation at Mission Memorial Hospital in Asheville, NC. It was designed to provide physical and occupational therapists in the acute care setting with information regarding VADs and what they are used for as well as recommendations for how patients with VADs should be monitored during therapy sessions.

Rapp In-service_Managing and Treating Patients with VADs


Reflective Statement

Over the course of my time at UNC, I have learned that a graduate program in physical therapy is more than courses and clinical rotations. Although these components are certainly important (and have served to only reaffirm my decision to choose physical therapy as a career path), I have found that earning a DPT degree is also about what you learn about yourself and those around you along the way. As this particular journey concludes and I reflect back on not only all I have learned about physical therapy but also about myself, I am both grateful and proud. I am proud not only of how I have grown as a person and a physical therapist, but I am proud of my classmates and I am proud of this program. Furthermore, I am filled with gratitude for all of my professors, clinical instructors, patients, and peers. And as I continue to work towards my goals, although I do not know exactly where life will take me following graduation, I am excited for the opportunities and the new adventures that a career in physical therapy will bring. I intend to work for a few years in either a pediatric or outpatient orthopedic setting in the Triangle area before applying for a residency in pediatrics – hopefully at UNC! Although I have met friends, classmates, and professors in various places and stages in my life, it was among my classmates and professors here in the DPT program at UNC that I have truly found “my people,” and I will forever cherish all of the lessons I have learned here. This program has given me the greatest opportunity to become the successful physical therapist I desire to be, and I will forever be proud to be a Tar-heel.

Game day

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Rapp, Laura”

  1.   Lisa Johnstonon 07 Jun 2015 at 8:53 pm

    Nice job on your portfolio. I am excited to see all you have accomplished throughout your time at UNC. Nice work.


  2.   Debbie Thorpeon 02 Jul 2015 at 7:42 pm

    Great career goals and objectives!! I think a pediatric residency is a wonderful idea to really “jump start” your career in pediatric PT. I would add taking the PCS exam as a goal as well. You are very capable and after doing a residency, you should be well prepared.

    Great job on portfolio!! Stay in touch!!



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