Apr 10 2016

Nixon, Elizabeth

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Professional Goal Statement

I plan to graduate in August 2016 from the University of North Carolina with my Doctorate in Physical Therapy and use the skills learned there to become a licensed physical therapist. My goal is to utilize evidence based practice to provide the highest quality care for my patients. I plan to focus on treating patients with neurologic impairments. Subsequently, I plan to pursue a neurologic residency program and obtain my neurologic clinical specialist certification to elevate my clinical practice. I hope to continue to be involved in PT advocacy and promote positive change for my patients and the profession.


Career Plan

  • BS in Exercise and Sports Science with a minor in Dance from UNC Greensboro (2004-2008)
  • Experience as a PT technician in an outpatient orthopedic clinic (2010-2012)
  • UNC Doctor of Physical Therapy Program (2013-2016)
    • Clinical Rotation I: Catawba Valley Medical Center, Hickory, NC – Acute Care, Underserved (2014)
    • Clinical Rotation II: Child and Family Development, Charlotte, NC – Outpatient Pediatric Neuro (2015)
    • Clinical Rotation III: Durham VA Medical Center, Durham, NC – Outpatient Orthopedics (2015)
    • Clinical Rotation IV: WakeMed Health & Hospitals, Raleigh, NC – Inpatient Neuro (2016)
  • Tyrrell County Interdisciplinary Service Learning Trip (2016)
  • UNC Physical Therapy Outreach Service Learning Trip to Guatemala (2016)
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy from UNC Chapel Hill (2016)
  • Sit for Licensure Exam (Oct 2016)
  • Begin Neurologic Residency Program (Summer 2017)
  • Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency (2017 and beyond)
  • Obtain full-time employment in hospital/clinic working as neurological physical therapist (2018 and beyond)
  • Become clinical instructor and clinic CCCE (2018 and beyond)
  • North Carolina House of Delegates Representative (2019 and beyond)
  • Board Certified as Neurologic Specialist (2021 and beyond)
  • Elected to the APTA Nominating Committee (2025 and beyond)



  • Strengths
    • Highly involved in professional development within my program, the state and nationally (SPTA, NCPTA, APTA) and desire to continue in the future.
    • Engaged in advocacy by serving as a Key Contact for PT legislative issues and attending legislative events on a state and national level.
    • Strong interpersonal communication skills
    • Passion for continued pursuit of knowledge beyond the DPT classroom.
    • Professionalism and cultural competency
  • Areas for Development
    • Continue to improve clinical skills especially related to patients with neurologic impairments.
    • Improve manual therapy skills
    • Increase professional network on a local and national level


Specific Strategies

  • Graduate from the University of North Carolina with my Doctorate in Physical Therapy – August 2016
  • Sit for and pass National Physical Therapy licensure exam – October 2016
  • Apply for and become accepted to neurologic physical therapy residency – Summer 2017


Course Plan and Objectives

  • Fall 2015 electives:
    • Advanced Orthopedic Assessment (3 credit hours):
    • Integrated Clinical Experience (1 credit hour): Outpatient Neuro Experience
  • Spring 2016 electives:
    • Interdisciplinary Service Learning Trip (1 credit hour): Tyrrell County, NC.
    • International Service Learning Trip (1 credit hour): Guatemala
  • Doctoral Project:
    • Review of best evidence outcome measures for use in individuals with concurrent TBI and vestibular symptoms to be used for future research.


DPT Project Examples


Professional Involvement Activities


  • NCPTA Student Special Interest Group
    • President (2014-2015)
  • APTA Student Assembly Project Committees
    • National Student Conclave Project Committee (2015)
    • Prospective Student Task Force (2015)
    • Networking and Involvement Committee (2016)
  • UNC Student Physical Therapy Association (2014-2015)
    • Secretary
    • SPTA Fundraising Committee Member,
    • Fundraising committee member for 10th Annual UNC Division of Physical Therapy Golf Tournament
  • UNC Beyond Clinic Walls – Interdisciplinary student health promotion team (2014-2015)
  • APTA Neurology Section Education Strategic Planning Participant (2015)
  • Lee Silverman Voice Training (LSVT) BIG for Parkinson’s (2015)
  • Constraint Induce Movement Therapy Camp Volunteer (2015)
  • UNC Nutrition Research Assistant (2015-2016)
  • UNC Allied Health Interdisciplinary Service Trip to Tyrrell County NC (2016)
  • UNC Physical Therapy Outreach Service-Learning Trip to Guatemala (2016)
  • Conference Attendance
    • NCPTA Legislative Day
      • Attendee (2015)
      • Co-organizer (2016)
    • Federal Advocacy Forum/Capitol Hill Day (2014, 2015, 2016)
    • APTA Combined Sections Meeting (2015, 2016)
    • APTA NEXT Conference (2014, 2015, 2016)
    • APTA National Student Conclave (2014, 2015)
    • NCPTA Annual Conference (2014, 2015)
    • UNC Spinal Cord Injury Conference (2014)



I’m so grateful for my last three years as a DPT student at the University of North Carolina. It was a dream come true to be accepted and the experience was more outstanding than I could have hoped. The opportunities I gained, both in and out of the classroom, will serve me well as I transition to clinician. I hope to one day give back to other DPT students some of the knowledge and opportunity that was given to me.

The entire faculty in the UNC DPT department were instrumental in my learning and growth as a clinician. They each went above and beyond to help me become a physical therapist and I’m so grateful for their support.

I want to thank the NCPTA for awarding me a scholarship to Federal Advocacy Forum my first year in PT school. That award was life changing as it ignited a passion for PT advocacy and involvement in both the NCPTA and APTA.

Being able to work and connect with student and clinicians all over the U.S. has enhanced my time in school and allowed me to become involved in national opportunities that I never thought possible.

Finally, I want to thank every single one of my 28 classmates. Their support and encouragement in and out of the classroom were key to my success in the program and I couldn’t imagine going through this experience with anyone else.

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