Apr 10 2016

Paul, Emily

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Professional Goal Statement

While my passions revolve around orthopedic and aquatic intervention, I strive to become a well-rounded and respected generalist who has the ability to effectively treat any patient. As a physical therapist, I aspire to continually seek new knowledge, learn new skills, grow in my faith, and maintain confidence so that I can deliver high quality health care and positively influence the lives of as many people as possible. Additionally, I hope to spread my passion for and knowledge of physical therapy practice to future students and colleagues by serving as a certified clinical instructor and by teaching educational courses.

Career Plan


  • Graduate Magna Cum Laude from Gustavus Adolphus College with a BA in Athletic Training and a minor in Music (2013)
  • Sit for and Pass the National Board of Certification exam (April 2013)
  • Become a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) (2013)
  • Maintain athletic training certification
  • Maintain active membership in the National Athletic Trainer’s Association (NATA) and American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) membership
  • Join APTA’s Aquatic and Orthopedic Therapy sections (2014)
  • Sit for and pass the NPTE (July 2016)
  • Graduate from UNC DPT program (August 2016)
  • Become a Licensed Physical Therapists (2016)
  • Obtain a job in a OP PT clinic and practice both land-based and aquatic treatment (2016)
  • Receive a Certificate in Aquatic Physical Therapy Clinical Competency from the APTA (2020)
  • Become a Clinical Instructor (2020)
  • Serve as a faculty member at an accredited DPT program (2030)

Self Assessment

  • Strengths
    • Previous clinical experience as an ATC working with both high school and college athletes
    • Previous clinical experience as a Physical Therapy Aide in an OP PT clinic, hospital, and nursing home.
    • Effective communication skills for successful interaction with patients, families, and other medical professionals
    • Timely and efficient
    • Practice sound clinical judgment
    • Ability to work well is stressful situations
    • Demonstrate strong work ethic
    • Ability to establish strong rapport with patients and their families
  • Areas for Further Development
    • Further experience with complex neurological patients, especially those with CVA
    • Further experience with aquatic intervention
    • Further experience and expanded knowledge related to vestibular rehabilitation
    • Additional continuing education relating to aquatics and orthopedics
    • Further experience integrating music therapy and musical concepts into physical therapy practice

Areas of Special Interest


  • Aquatic Therapy and Intervention
  • Integration of music therapy and musical concepts into physical therapy practice
  • Orthopaedics
  • Community and International service learning and volunteerism
  • Applied manual therapy skills



  1. Participate in the UNC PT Outreach Service Learning Trip to Guatemala in Spring 2016
  2. Prepare and sit for the NPTE Licensure exam in July 2015
  3. Graduate with my Doctorate in Physical Therapy from UNC
  4. Attain a job in an OP PT facility with an aquatic program by October 2016
  5. Receive a Certificate in Aquatic Physical Therapy Clinical Competency from the APTA
  6. Continue to seek opportunities to expand and further my knowledge and skills in the fields of athletic training and physical therapy
  7. Become a Board Certified Orthopaedic Specialist (OCS) by 2020

Specific Strategies for Addressing Development Needs and Interests


  • Continue NATA and APTA memberships and join orthopedic section in addition to the aquatic section
  • Network with professionals interested in aquatic therapy and orthopedics by being an active member of the sections and by attending special events/lectures at conferences
  • Continue to seek out opportunities to further my knowledge relating to aquatics, orthopaedics, vestibular rehabilitation and manual therapy by attending related educational courses and reading literature



Fall 2015: Advanced Orthopedic Assessment and Treatment (PHYT 875)

  • This course furthered my abilities to assess, diagnose, and treat orthopedic conditions and expanded my critical thinking skills as they pertain to evaluation, assessment, and treatment.

Fall 2015: Integrated Clinical Experience (PHYT 870)

  • This additional clinical experience gave me the opportunity to further my understanding of outpatient practice. Additionally, I had the opportunity to provide care for patients in an outpatient aquatic setting which gave me the opportunity for more aquatic experience, particularly for adults with cerebral palsy (CP).

Spring 2016: Spanish for Healthcare Workers (PUBH 610)

  • This course allowed me to expand my Spanish-speaking abilities, particularly related to healthcare. This course also gave me greater knowledge about hispanic cultures and customs and their importance in healthcare.

Spring 2016: UNC PT Outreach Service Learning Trip to Guatemala (PHYT 895)

  • Participated in a service learning trip and had the opportunity to provide physical therapy services for those who are medically underserved in an international setting. Provided care for residents at a residential rehabilitation hospital, participated in local health fairs, and offered screening exams for children with disabilities.


For my capstone project, I completed a literature review relating to the benefits of aquatic resistive exercise for adults with CP. The resulting final product serves as the background section for any papers written using the data from Dr. Thorpe’s Project ACT NOW. This study was conducted in 2008 and investigated the effects of an aquatic resistive exercise program on muscle strength, musculoskeletal pain, cardio-respiratory fitness (VO2peak), gait speed, health-related quality of life, activity level, and mobility in adults with CP. Please visit my capstone webpage for more information.


The final year of this program allowed me to tailor the focus of my coursework and research so that I could further my knowledge related to aquatic intervention.

PHYT 752-Evidence Based Practice II:

Clinically Appraised Topic that assesses if aquatic resistive exercise is effective in improving gait speed in ambulatory adults with CP (21 years and older).

PHYT 875-Advanced Orthopedic Assessment:

My final project for this course was entitled Hip Osteoarthritis in Patients with Cerebral Palsy: Pathogenesis, Prevention, and Treatment. This paper explores one of the common secondary complications that adults with CP face and explains how hip osteoarthritis develops, how body mechanics influence it, prevention tactics, as well as numerous treatment options.

PHYT 824-Health Promotion and Wellness:

While not specific to adults with CP, the community health promotion program I designed in this class allowed me to become more familiar with aquatic resistive exercise. This program presented is a 10-week aquatic exercise course for obese adults (over age 65) with knee osteoarthritis in Orange County, NC.

Reflective Statement and Personal Assessment 

The past three years in this program have allowed me to become a well-rounded clinician with the knowledge and skill needed to work in any setting. With my background as an athletic trainer, the first year of the program was primarily a review, which was welcomed as it allowed me to explore deeper into the content and to refine my skills. The content during the second year of the program challenged me to think more critically and to apply my knowledge in a more clinical manner. The final year of the program has allowed me to apply that clinical knowledge and to expand on it through research and projects tailored towards my interests or orthopedics and aquatics. I was lucky to have five excellent clinical rotations which complimented my classroom learning and helped me become comfortable in a variety of settings and helped me to have a better understanding of the continuum of care across the healthcare field. I appreciate having had the opportunity to submerge myself into the aquatic therapy niche and the experiences I have had in this area of practice will help me as I begin and progress my career.

In these three years I have grown as a person, friend, and professional. My thought processes related to assessment and treatment have changed throughout the years and now seem more cohesive, fluid, and meaningful than in the beginning. The relationships I have formed here at UNC have helped to build to framework for a supportive network in the field of PT which will strengthen me as a clinician and professional. My professional nature has also grown in these three years and this program has challenged me to strive for high quality care and work for my patients and for myself.


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