Apr 20 2017

Johnson, Colleen

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Professional Goals

To be a life-long educator as a physical therapist to my patients and as an instructor to my students in both the clinic and the classroom.

Career Plan

My career as a physical therapist has taken me from the center of this country and allowed me to venture from coast–to-coast. I have had the opportunity to work with amazing people, in a variety of settings. I have worked in home health, inpatient rehab, and acute care, but found my love in outpatient orthopedics. It is in this setting that I have pursued numerous continuing education opportunities, received my specialist certification and most importantly, discovered my passion for teaching. I knew in order for me to follow this passion and to fulfill my professional goals, I needed to take the next step in my own education. It was the emphasis on teaching and education at UNC’s tDPT program that led me to move here and apply in 2014.

Objectives/ Specific Strategies/Self Assessment

My objectives for this program are:

  1. To improve my ability to critically analyze current literature and determine how it may apply to my patient care.

I believe I achieved this objective in EBP II and this was exemplified in my CAT project. I was encouraged throughout this program to not only critically analyze the readings but to find and synthesize other evidence and discuss how it may apply it to my daily practice. This proved very challenging in Advanced Patient Management I & II especially in the topics in which I was less familiar.

  1. To gain further knowledge in current evidence regarding orthopedic practice.

I was able to achieve this goal from a variety of classes. For example, in Advanced Patient Management II, I learned about the current research and guidelines in the treatment of neck and back pain. I was able to expand upon what I had learned regarding spinal imaging and create my Capstone Project. I gained extensive knowledge about musculoskeletal pathology in the elective, Advanced Orthopedic Assessment and Treatment, and I know I will continue to refer to my notes and the readings in the future.

  1. To learn about pedagogy and its applications as well as have the opportunity to apply this knowledge in an academic environment.

I was able to achieve this goal by participating in the seminar, Education in Physical Therapy, as well as in an elective offered through East Carolina University, Instructional Strategies in Adult Education. It was in these classes I learned not only about teaching, but also about my philosophy and how that shapes me as an instructor. It was my final project for the education seminar that I had the pleasure of putting what I had learned into reality by giving a lecture to the MSK I class this spring. As part of my Capstone project, I created a Voicethread lecture for the Spine Module of Advanced Patient Management II as well as obtained experience in grading and providing student feedback in an online teaching environment.


“The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson


As I reflect on the past two years, I do not even recognize the person I was prior to August of 2015. I had become rather complacent in my way of thinking, but this program has stretched my mind to a point of no return and I am forever grateful. As stated above, I had objectives for this program and not only did I meet them, but I surpassed them beyond my expectations due to the encouragement of the faculty and the curriculum provided at UNC. I now know how to critically appraise the evidence, determine how it applies to my practice and then educate others on the findings.   I look forward to life of continued education, not only for myself, but also for my colleagues and students. Completion of my DPT has inspired me to learn more about becoming an effective educator and to pursue my professional goals to teach the physical therapists of the future.

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