May 21 2019

Olivia DeSena Fleming

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Professional Goal Statement

I aspire to become a physical therapist who provides evidence-based, collaborative, and person-centered care to community members. At the start of my career, I plan to work in an outpatient orthopedic setting in North Carolina. I hope to apply my educational background in pediatrics and orthopedics by delivering care to both children and adults with orthopedic conditions. I ultimately plan to develop expertise in a specialty area of interest by becoming a board-certified clinical specialist in orthopedics or pediatrics. I am committed to continuous community engagement, learning, and advocacy throughout my career for the betterment of my patients and profession.


Career Plan


  • B.A. in Exercise and Sport Science with French minor, UNC Chapel Hill (2016)
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy program, UNC Chapel Hill (2016-2019)
  • Clinical Experiences
    1. Outpatient Orthopedics Rotation (8 weeks): Brunswick Physical Therapy Associates, Shallotte, NC
    2. Acute Care Rotation (8 weeks): UNC Hospitals, Chapel Hill, NC
    3. Pediatric Early Intervention Rotation (8 weeks): Total Rehabilitation, Chapel Hill, NC
    4. Outpatient Orthopedics Clinical Elective (60 hours): UNC Family Medicine Center, Chapel Hill, NC
    5. Outpatient Pediatrics Clinical Elective (58 hours): UNC Center for Rehabilitation Care, Chapel Hill, NC
    6. Outpatient Orthopedics Rotation (12 weeks): Duke Diet and Fitness Center, Durham, NC


  • National Physical Therapy Examination (July 2019)
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree, UNC Chapel Hill (August 2019)
  • Outpatient Orthopedic Physical Therapist (beginning 2019)
  • Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopedics or Pediatrics (by 2025)
  • Clinical Instructor (by 2025)
  • Bilingual Certified Clinician in Spanish and French (by 2030)


Other Professional Activities

  • Student Health Action Coalition (SHAC) Pro Bono Clinic
    1. Interdisciplinary Student Representative (2016-2017)
      • Initiated PT screenings at Durham homeless shelter in collaboration with UNC pharmacy students
      • Created PT Triage positions to improve communication with medical team about patients appropriate for physical therapy
    2. Amigas en Salud Volunteer (2017-2018)
      • Taught free, bilingual dance fitness classes once monthly to Chapel Hill Latina community
    3. Clinic Volunteer (2016-present)
  • UNC Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy Camp Volunteer (2017-2019)
  • Medicaid Community Alternatives Program Choice (CAP/Choice) pediatric home aide (2018)
  • Legislative Advocacy: NCPTA Legislative Day, NCPTA National Advocacy Dinner, APTA Flash Action Strategies
  • Conference Attendance: APTA Combined Sections Meeting, NCPTA Annual Conference

Elective Courses

  • Advanced Spanish for Health Professions
  • International Service Learning Trip to Guatemala
  • Interdisciplinary Service Learning Trip to Tyrrell County, NC
  • Advanced Orthopedic Assessment
  • Integrated Clinical Experience in Outpatient Orthopedics
  • Independent Study in Outpatient Pediatrics

Self Assessment


  • Ability to connect with patients on a personal level, developing trust and therapeutic alliance
  • Experience with interprofessional collaboration through leadership with pro bono clinic and clinical experience
  • Spanish and French proficiency
  • Experience working in a variety of orthopedic and pediatric physical therapy settings
  • Awareness of general health care and reimbursement policy

Areas for Further Development:

  • Advanced orthopedic differential diagnosis and treatment, especially as related to the foot/ankle
  • Improved understanding of pediatric conditions and child development
  • Continued commitment to evidence-based practice
  • Improved Spanish fluency in order to use Spanish professionally with patients

Objectives and Strategies for Development

  • Stay involved with evidence-based practice: Throughout my career, I plan to seek current, best-available evidence at least once weekly to support clinical decision making. To facilitate this, I will seek employment that encourages evidence-based practice through academic journal membership and journal clubs.
  • Develop advanced clinical skills: I plan to establish mentorships with experienced clinicians to provide me with guidance in areas of weakness. I will continue learning beyond my academic program through APTA/NCPTA conferences, meetings, and webinars. I will consider applying for residencies to prepare for specialty certification.
  • Continue regular community service and engagement: Community engagement with underserved populations has always been important to me. I plan to stay involved with local community service organizations. I will seek out employers that encourage access to care by accepting Medicaid and/or by participating in community outreach events.
  • Improve Spanish skills to become Bilingual Certified Clinician: I plan to immerse myself in local Spanish-speaking communities, and continue listening to Spanish podcasts and media over the next several years. I also plan to consult with bilingual mentors for guidance on becoming professionally fluent.

Product Examples

  • Capstone: I created, translated, and presented this educational inservice in Spanish to Guatemalan physical therapists during UNC PT’s international service-learning trip.
  • Examination and Treatment of Low Back Pain with Intervertebral Disc Pathology: I wrote this paper based on best available evidence as part of my Advanced Orthopedic Assessment elective.
  • Critically Appraised Topic: During my Evidence Based Practice II course, I completed this Critically Appraised Topic based on a pediatric clinical scenario of interest. This project helped me develop skills in locating and appraising evidence, as well as making informed clinical decisions when research is lacking.

Reflective Statement

Upon updating and finalizing my portfolio, I recognize how much I have grown over the course of this program. I am proud of meeting my initial portfolio objectives related to developing clinical skills during a busy online year through clinical elective courses, volunteering, and conference attendance. I am also appreciative for the unique service and advocacy opportunities I have been afforded through the program and its alumni. I am excited to continue meeting and updating my professional goals through continued learning beyond my formal education.

This program has been extremely challenging, but I have been motivated and encouraged by my classmates and faculty (who are humble, compassionate geniuses). I am particularly grateful to my academic advisor, Dr. Laurie Ray, for providing me with countless hours of guidance and uplifting conversation. I am proud to be a part of a professional family that is so committed to excellent care for all patients. Additionally, I could not go without thanking my actual family, who has provided unceasing support throughout this long educational journey.

I hope that my portfolio communicates the passion that I have for physical therapy. As clinical practice and evidence continuously develop, the critical thinking skills that I have learned at UNC will help me provide high-quality care beyond my academic years. I look forward to how I will blend my professional interests to best serve my patients over the course of my career. This is just the beginning!

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Olivia DeSena Fleming”

  1.   Lisa Johnstonon 03 Jun 2019 at 10:56 am

    Olivia: It has been a true pleasure getting to know you and watching you grow and develop. You did an amazing job on your capstone even presenting while facing illness. You are amazing in so many ways. Good luck to you! Lisa


  2.   Olivia DeSena Flemingon 04 Jun 2019 at 9:14 pm

    Thank you so much for your encouraging feedback! I truly appreciate your support and guidance throughout the program and in developing my capstone. Thank you for all of the work that you do for us and the program!


  3.   Laurie Rayon 11 Jun 2019 at 5:53 pm

    I just spent a chunk of time reading all of the things you have accomplished during your program. Remarkable. Often, as your advisor, I thought you were biting off more then a huge mouthful. I worried you would stress yourself out or short change some of the experiences. Somehow you always seem to get the best of each opportunity! Your professional curiosity and enthusiasm for learning seem boundless.

    It has been a deep joy to come to know you. I am sad not to have more coffees scheduled. Perhaps we could do them virtually?

    I will truly miss you. Though, I cannot wait to see what you do next! I wish you a long, meaningful, rewarding career. I am certain that’s exactly what you will have. ~Laurie


  4.   Prue Plummeron 12 Jun 2019 at 6:20 pm

    I agree with the sentiments expressed by Lisa and Laurie. You are remarkable young woman. You will have an amazing career and I look forward to watching you flourish.
    Warm wishes,


  5.   McMikeon 20 Jun 2019 at 11:12 am

    I’m excited for your future, your portfolio does a nice job presenting a wonderful, professional plan. You’re such a hard worker (as displayed in clinic/ICE and class), I know you will achieve your goals and more! All the best to you,


  6.   Olivia DeSena Flemingon 30 Jun 2019 at 6:36 pm

    Laurie, I have always left our meetings feeling refreshed and inspired. Thank you so much for all of your guidance (professional and personal) throughout the program. I will miss you too, but I will be sure to keep in touch!

    Prue, your EBP class was invaluable. The skills I learned in your class will help me stay current with evidence to continuously learn throughout my career. I appreciate your kind words and I wish you the best of luck in Boston.

    McMike, thank you so much for your mentorship in ICE and class. I look up to you as a clinician, and I am so fortunate to have learned from you first hand.

    Thank you each for sharing your talents and supporting me, I am so grateful!



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