Apr 10 2016

Sykes, Rob

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Regal_BeagleProfessional Goal Statement:

My ultimate goal is to enjoy life and to help others do the same. Physical health is vital to the human experience, and, as a physical therapist, I will strive to restore the health of those who have been set back by any and all types of movement dysfunction.

Career Plan:

  • Bachelor of Science, Psychology & Exercise and Sport Science (UNC-Chapel Hill) – 2012
  • Admission to UNC-Chapel Hill Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program – 2013
  • Outpatient orthopedic clinical rotation in an underserved area (Carolina Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine, New Bern, NC) – 2014
  • Inpatient neurologic clinical rotation (UNC Health Care Inpatient Rehabilitation Center, Chapel Hill, NC) – 2015
  • Acute care clinical rotation (Mission Hospital, Asheville, NC) – 2015
  • Outpatient neurological and orthopedic clinical rotation (Bodies in Balance, Wilmington, NC) – 2016
  • Pass the physical therapy licensure exam and receive my license to practice physical therapy in the state of NC – 2016
  • Earn my Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree – 2016
  • Secure full-time employment as a physical therapist in the state of NC – 2016
  • Short-term goals
    • Surround myself with experienced clinicians and mentors
    • Seek out clinical education opportunities that will allow me to provide the highest quality of care to my patients
    • Serve as a clinical instructor
  • Long-term goals
    • Become a clinical specialists in at least one specialty area
    • Return to the academic setting and serve as an instructor or lecturer in a physical therapy education program



  • Individually responsible but also work well as a team member
  • Eager learner
  • Able to build rapport with a variety of individuals and personalities
  • Effective teacher to patients and peers
  • ICU experience at a Level II trauma center
  • Vestibular rehabilitation experience

Areas for Further Development

  • Direction and supervision of support personnel such as PTAs and aides
  • Negotiating with reimbursement entities
  • The construction of custom orthoses
  • Manual therapy


My clinical interests are widespread and varied. I enjoy working with patients across the continuum of care, from the intensive care unit to the outpatient environment. I really enjoy the inpatient rehabilitation setting, helping patients with extensive rehabilitation needs that, in many cases, must learn to adapt to permanent changes in their functional capabilities. I also enjoy the problem solving that is required of outpatient practice where physical therapists often serve as patients’ first point of contact. My objectives for graduate study are as follows:

  • Achieve proficiency in evaluating and treating patients in any general physical therapy setting.
  • Achieve proficiency in performing literature reviews and presenting relevant research to groups of peers and professionals.
  • Achieve proficiency in curriculum content and, thus, be prepared to sit for the physical therapist licensure exam by July 2016.

Strategies for Addressing My Developmental Needs and Interests:

  • Enroll in PHYT 870 (Integrated Clinical Experience) and/or shadow faculty/therapists in the clinic
  • Devise a study schedule and begin reviewing past curriculum content prior to spring semester 2016
  • Have my final clinical rotation in an outpatient setting that, preferably, exposes me to both an ortho and neuro population
  • Surround myself with experienced clinicians and mentors
  • Seek out clinical education opportunities that will allow me to provide the highest quality of care to my patients

Electives & Capstone Project:

Advanced Orthopedic Assessment (PHYT 875): One of my third year electives included PHYT 875. As part of this course, each student had to produce a paper regarding a specific musculoskeletal tissue or pathology of his or her choosing. Due to my own personal experience with a diagnosis of sports hernia and the inconsistent terminology that is used to discuss groin injuries in the literature, I wrote a paper entitled Sports Hernia: An Overview for the Healthcare Provider of Active Populations.

Integrated Clinical Experience (PHYT 870): I had the opportunity to spend 60 hours in the clinic between two different faculty members. Areas of concentration included orthopedic management of the foot and ankle and manual therapy interventions for orthopedic conditions.

Interdisciplinary Service Learning Trip to Guatemala (PHYT 895): This was undoubtedly one of the highlights of physical therapy school. A group of my classmates and I had the opportunity to spend a week in Antigua Guatemala working alongside the physical therapists at Obras Sociales del Santo Hermano Pedro. We also hosted two health fairs in neighboring communities where we were able to speak with locals about topics such as back care, nutrition, and hygiene, to name a few.

Capstone Project: I previously had a clinical rotation at an inpatient rehabilitation center where many of my patients were rehabilitating from stroke. The facility owned an FES cycle, but it was something that was infrequently utilized. A curiosity about the potential benefits of this therapeutic modality led to the development of my capstone project. I wanted to learn more about the clinical benefit of FES cycling as it relates to individuals post stroke and present this information in such a way that would be useful to therapists in a rehab setting. My project can be accessed here.

Reflective Statement:

I am ever grateful for the opportunities and experiences that have been afforded me over the past three years at UNC. I have had the privilege to learn from many of the expert clinicians and researchers in our field, and I have had the pleasure to learn beside 29 of my closest friends. I have also been fortunate enough to benefit from four outstanding, though very different, clinical experiences and would be remiss if I did not mention all of the clinical instructors who have helped me translate textbook knowledge into practice. I acknowledge that this is simply the beginning of my professional career, but I am quite confident in the foundation that has been laid beneath me and am excited to join a profession that is committed to the betterment of humanity and the endless pursuit of excellence.

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