Mar 18 2015

Samuelson, Jonathan

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Professional Goal Statement

My goal is to begin my career as a Physical Therapist in an in-patient or out-patient rehabilitation setting within NC, where exercise will be a key component of treatment.  I will utilize evidence-based practice to provide skilled quality care, while practicing the clinical and ethical standards endorsed by the American Physical Therapy Association and North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners.

Career Plan

-BA Economics 1991, Brandeis University

-Junior Year Abroad, London School of Economics

-MA International Economics & Finance 1992, Brandeis University

-Graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy-August 1015.

-Pass DPT licensure exam October 2015.

-Obtain primary employment in NC, within a large team setting- Fall/Winter 2015

-Develop avenues to combine my DPT training and CSCS certification

-Become OCS or GCS certified 2020

-Retire 2039



-Extensive experience working with wide spectrum of ages in various fitness settings

-Experience in management and personal training in a wellness facility

-Experience teaching and coaching children

-Multi-setting financial experience

Areas for Development

-Successfully obtain DPT

-More clinical experience

-Secure employment

-Pursuit of continuing education relevant to my practice setting


-Complete DPT degree in 2015, upon successfully completing remaining courses

– Pass PT licensure exam in NC in October, 2015

– Obtain employment in NC

– Complete continuing education courses related to my desired area of board certification

– Pass board certification exam in desired area

-Pursue opportunities in fitness/coaching that utilize my DPT and CSCS


-Integrated Clinical Experience-Fall 2014- This was a great opportunity to gain additional out-patient experience treating patients with gait and balance deficits under the supervision of my advisor, Vickie Mercer, PT, PhD.

-Independent Orthopedic Elective- Spring 2015-One of my favorite classes, that combined seminars with experience being a teaching assistant for Mike McMorris PT, DPT, OCS.

Product Examples

When considering potential capstone ideas, I knew that  I wanted the topic to be exercise-related, but initially bounced around a bit with ideas. When I finally settled on a topic with the help of some faculty members, I realized that my choice was a capstone project that incorporated my interests and research from my cumulative experience at UNC. My capstone culminated in a presentation on functional exercises to a group of older adults at a senior center.  Here is a link to the brochure that I put together for that presentation Functional Exercise Brochure-Samuelson.

My most memorable experience in physical therapy school was during my first clinical rotation in an outpatient orthopedic setting at a rural hospital. I had the opportunity to witness a reverse total shoulder arthroplasty.  My vantage point was about 4-5 feet from the operating table and in direct communication with the surgeon, who peppered me with questions as well as explained the procedure.  I used this opportunity to put together a case study for my MSK II class, with actual x-rays from before and after the surgery. Here is a link to the power point I put together and presented to my classmates REVERSE TSA-Samuelson.

Reflective Statement

In my early thirties I pursued a personal training certification to fulfill my desire to transition from a finance career to one in exercise/fitness.  Although I had thought about going back to physical therapy school before I got married, my transition out of finance occurred during a time when pursuit of formal education was not possible due to family obligations.  However, my new career in fitness provided an avenue to employ exercise strategies to further the fitness goals of clients of various ages.

As I progressed in the fitness field I often consulted with physical therapists when dealing with clients who had suffered from various musculoskeletal injuries or medical conditions.  Although, I had earned national fitness/strength certifications I still felt that it was important to eventually experience the formal education that was necessary to bridge the gaps in my knowledge. While I knew that consulting with other medical/health professionals would always be an integral part of my professional practice I wanted to have the training to be able to research and answer questions on my own.

Physical therapy school has been an incredible challenge for me in terms of completing school while balancing my family commitments, and experiencing coursework so different from what I experienced as an undergraduate and graduate student in international economics and finance.  However, I feel that I have succeeded in filling those “gaps.”   I can now look back with a much greater understanding of the challenges my clients faced.  While as a fitness trainer I might have thought more in terms of muscle and bone, I now think about the contributions of the nervous system as well as the vestibular system with respect to movement.  I now realize that some of my own injuries that I had attributed to muscular issues were in part actually nerve-related. My education on the structures that comprise the shoulder and spine allow me much more insight than I previously experienced.  An equally important achievement for me, aside from a much more in depth knowledge of anatomy and biomechanics, is the development of communication skills.  My time at UNC has instilled in me the importance of communication skills beyond speaking clearly and with proper grammar.  Effective communication also involves being able to tailor your message and education appropriately to a given patient, client and audience.

However, there is more work for me in terms of my education.  Learning is an ongoing process.  Education is not just realizing what you know, but recognizing what you don’t know.  I look forward to my new career and the continuation of my education moving forward.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Samuelson, Jonathan”

  1.   Vicki Merceron 05 Jun 2015 at 1:54 am

    Hi Jonathan-
    You have done a nice job of communicating your experiences, plans, goals, and reflections. I’m glad to see you embracing the idea of being a lifelong learner. I’m right there with you!



  2.   Lisa Johnstonon 07 Jun 2015 at 9:02 pm

    It is great to see your progress during your time at UNC. Your journey has been a long one in getting to this goal. Great job!


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