Apr 26 2016

Constantine, Deborah

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Professional goal statement:

Never stop learning

My professional goal is to develop the necessary knowledge and skills that would effectively integrate my clinical experience with my passion for teaching.  What would that look like?  I am not sure. Perhaps it means developing educational content and conducting continuing education courses for fellow colleagues or perhaps I would accomplish my goal in an academic setting teaching physical therapy students as an adjunct professor.  I believe, though, that a DPT program will provide me with exposure to evidence-based practice, applied research and practice patterns, as well as promote deeper level of understanding in clinical assessment and intervention; all tools necessary for me to be an effective lecturer in physical therapy.

Learning objectives:

  1. Increase knowledge for effective use of outcome measures in the home care setting through information gained in Advanced Patient Management I & II.
  2. Understand how to develop a community workshop promoting health and wellness with the Topics in Health and Wellness course
  3. Gain tools necessary from the Education Seminar to implement a 2-day workshop focusing on effective use of objective outcome tests and measures in geriatric clinical practice

Career plan:

Small step of growth

I do not believe in coincidences, therefore when I received the second email from UNC regarding a DPT program designed for working clinicians, I knew that I had to take a second look.  The deadline was fast approaching so I needed to quickly examine the program and make a decision.  It was not coincidental that the email arrived just at the point where my professional life was in flux. I have always blended being a wife, mother and practicing clinician throughout my career.  My primary focus, even while employed, had been on raising my family, however I constantly sought professional growth as opportunities arose.  Now, I was on a journey for post-empty nest, professional growth.  It was time to focus on me.  At this season in life, my mothering role was evolving as our sons were college graduates and were gainfully employed leaving me with time and the desire to strive for that “next step”.  In the prior year I prepared intensely for and achieved board certification as a Geriatric Clinical Specialist so, maybe, just maybe, earning my DPT was that “next step”. The thought of returning to school was both intriguing and terrifying!  A unique feature of the UNC DPT program was its educational elective which exposes enrolled students to various teaching methods, course creation and technological approaches to education. Becoming an educator in the community or in physical therapy was a goal of mine and receiving my DPT would provide me the skills and the credentials to pursue any of the aforementioned interests in a professional capacity.  Hmmm.  Maybe, just maybe, this was the program for me.

Portfolio career path pix

Product examples:

Colin Powell Secret to Success

  • Over the years I have developed and interest in reducing modifiable cardiovascular risk factors for African American adults. To that end, I have spoken to community members regarding heart health and the importance of physical activity.  I was thrilled to research and develop a written program in Topics in Health and Wellness directed specifically for African Americans.  The systematic approach to developing this paper enabled me to discover resources and direction that I sorely lacked.  One day I hope to present the practical information to African American women in North Carolina.  Attached is the paper that outlines a program for obesity reduction in African American Women. Assignment 4 Health and Wellness Due Dec 8 final
  • In the interest of becoming knowledgeable about teaching tools utilized in today’s classroom, I ventured to create a brief Voicethread for the Education Seminar course.  One module described the differences between those who have grown up with technology and those who see technology as a foreign concept.  The idea for the Voicethread was inspired by Prensky(1) who describes today’s student as native technology users.   I definitely was not a native technology user and struggled to become current with today’s technological advances.  The 3-slide presentation is the final product depicting my digital immigration to the new land of digital technology. Please view in slideshow.   Journey to the new (tech) world.
  • My primary clinical interest is in fall risk reduction in the elderly adult. One primary reason for a patient referral to home care involves falls due to decreased postural control and decreased balance therefore I sought to investigate safe exercises that a patient could perform as part of a home exercise program. As a critically appraised topic (CAT), I selected seated exercises as a therapeutic intervention due to safety concerns for many home care patients with impaired balance. It is not uncommon for patients to have insufficient supervision at home, yet need to follow through with an effective program to make significant balance changes.  I was looking for seated exercises as a safe means of improving balance in the elderly population who are at risk for falls.  The research, however, does not support seated exercises as an effective means of fall risk reduction in the elderly individual.  The following link provides access to the CAT.   Constantine_Assignment 5–CAT Template-1
  • Capstone project:

Slip and falls

As a result of multiple clinical exposures to patients at risk for falls, I became interested in researching methods for reducing falls in the elderly and as a result, selected falls reduction as my Capstone project.  Once I completed the research on effective fall risk reduction assessments and interventions, I created a teaching tool to familiarize students and new clinicians in ways to increase safety in elderly adults who are at risk for falls. It was a challenging, yet rewarding project that entailed use of technology by combining a visual and an audio presentation of fall risk reduction research. The final product is a 45 minute video presentation comprised of 8 modules describing the prevalence as well as screening, assessment and intervention strategies for fall prevention in older individuals. You can view the presentation in modules or in its entirety here.



Isaiah 40

Enrolling in and subsequent completion of the t-DPT program has infused me with confidence and strength that I did not know existed. From its inception, the program presented mental, technical and organizational challenges that seemed insurmountable at the time.  Soon, however, I found a rhythm for planning my assignments, locating appropriate resources, gathering information and posting assignments in between working and taking care of my family.  It’s amazing just how much growth a person can undergo even while experiencing difficulties.  I found being in an academic setting to be both stimulating and refreshing at the same time.  Even though the course topics (neuro, ortho, cardio, geriatrics, wound care, etc.) were familiar to me, I experienced a profound depth of understanding that surpassed my expectations.  The excellent instructors facilitated my discovery of innumerable and relevant research articles that expanded my thinking and provided tools that enabled me to practice physical therapy at an increasingly effective manner.  The ICF model that has been vaguely discussed by my peers came alive as I understood how to make clinical application based upon the model.  Each course helped me dig deeper into the health conditions, related impairments and limitations in activities along with participation restrictions that affect potential patients. Now, I have a thirst for comprehending clinical and evidence-based practice and linking that knowledge to patient care.  Further, I’m no longer fearful of reading research articles and making a clinical judgement on its relevance to current clinical practice. Finally, enrollment in the t-DPT program has provided me with knowledge that can be shared with the community, students, clinicians, politicians and peers.  My new position as a Clinical Assistant Professor at Campbell University may not have happened without my being enrolled in the t-DPT program.   I am so grateful for that second email inviting me to join the t-DPT program at Chapel Hill.  That smallest step in the right direction ended up being the biggest decision in my life!


  1. Prensky, M.  Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon.    Oct;9(5)


Gala 2 close up  20150517_195716

I am deeply thankful for and so appreciative of the amazing support of the Constantine men in my life:  Edward, Adam and Paul.  I also give thanks for the eternal grace of my heavenly Father.

Deborah Constantine, PT, GCS