Dec 03 2020

Durkin, Kaitlynn

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Professional Goal Statement

I strive to be a well-rounded physical therapist who provides high quality, patient centered care. I seek to practice with integrity and uphold the dignity of my patients by treating them with compassion, empathy, and respect. Upon graduating from UNC, I aspire to work with neurological, pediatric, or acute-care patients in an environment that fosters professional growth and collaboration. I am committed to continually expand my knowledge and skills, maintain best practice, be an advocate, and remain passionate about the profession. My goal as a physical therapist is to partner with patients, as part of an interdisciplinary team, to provide hope, restore function, promote movement, enhance quality of life, and help them achieve their goals.


Career Plan


  • Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Science, Minor in Spanish; James Madison University: May 2018
  • Enrolled in Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: August 2018-August 2021
  • Attended APTA Combined Sections Meeting in Washington DC: January 2019
  • Acute Care Clinical Affiliation – UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, NC: June-August 2019
  • Obtained Otago Exercise Program Falls Prevention Training Certification: January 2020
  • Outpatient Neuro Clinical Affiliation – Cone Health Neurorehabilitation Center in Greensboro, NC: March 2020
  • Attended NCPTA Student Conclave Meeting in High Point, NC: March 2020
  • Research Assistant, MedRhythms Clinical Trial – ReGaiN Lab University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: October 2020 – February 2021
  • Outpatient Neuro Integrated Clinical Experience – UNC Faculty Practice in Hillsborough, NC: January 2021 – February 2021
  • Attended APTA Combined Sections Meeting virtually: February 2021
  • Outpatient Orthopedic Clinical Affiliation – Southeastern Physical Therapy in Virginia Beach, VA: March 2021 – April 2021
  • Completed Capstone on Constraint Induced Movement Therapy interventions within the context of UNC Children’s Helping Kids with Hemiplegia Camp: April 2021


  • Outpatient Pediatric Clinical Affiliation – Pediatric Therapy Associates, Garner, NC: May 2021 – July 2021
  • Sit for and pass National Physical Therapy Examination: July 27, 2021
  • Earn my Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: July, 31 2021
  • Obtain full-time employment in North Carolina in a pediatric, neuro rehabilitation, or acute care setting: Fall 2021
  • Become an APTA-Certified Clinical Instructor: 2023
  • Receive Board-Certified Pediatric Clinical Specialist (PCS) or Neurologic Clinical Specialist (NCS) certification: 2027




  • Organization, discipline, and time-management skills
  • Building rapport with patients and their families
  • Professionalism and interpersonal skills
  • Experience working with medically complex patients in the ICU
  • Ability to treat all patients with compassion, integrity, and respect

Areas for Development

  • Clinical experience
  • Analysis and integration of evidence-based practice into treatment plans
  • Involvement in advocacy at the state and federal levels
  • Understanding of insurance, billing, coding, and reimbursement policies
  • Confidence in clinical reasoning skills in all practice settings


Career Objectives

  • Achieve entry-level status within 12-weeks during my final clinical rotation in outpatient pediatrics
  • Graduate with my DPT from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in July 2021
  • Pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) and become a licensed physical therapist in July 2021
  • Secure a full-time position in pediatrics, neuro rehabilitation, or acute care in the Triangle in August of 2021
  • Become an APTA-Certified Clinical Instructor and mentor my first DPT student by December 2023
  • Sit for the Pediatric Clinical Specialist (PCS) or Neurologic Clinical Specialist (NCS) examination to become board certified by December 2027


Specific Strategies

  • Select elective coursework, clinical experiences, and mentors that will broaden my knowledge on neurological and pediatric conditions
  • Review the literature in order to provide patient-centered, evidence-based interventions for my pediatric caseload
  • Develop and execute a well-organized study plan for the NPTE
  • Research available positions, prepare for interviews with practice questions, and market my skillset by updating my resume and creating a LinkedIn page
  • Seek a mentorship with a seasoned physical therapist at my first job to provide me with support during my transition, help hone my skillset, and increase my confidence as a new clinician
  • Attend continuing education courses and conferences to maintain skills, stay up to date on latest evidence-based practice, and network with other professionals



Fall 2020 Electives

  • PHYT 880 (3 credits): Child and Family Assessment and Intervention

Spring 2021 Electives

  • PHYT 870 (1 credit): Integrated Clinical Experience
  • PHYT 885 (3 credits): Advanced Neuromuscular Intervention


Product Examples

  • Critically Appraised Topic (CAT) – An analysis of best evidence comparing the effectiveness of constraint induced movement therapy (CIMT) and bimanual intensive training  (BIT) on upper extremity function in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy.
  • Annual Physical Therapy Exam for Patients with Parkinson’s Disease – A class project outlining evidence-based tests and measures appropriate for an annual, preventative exam for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease.
  • Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip Educational Handout – A sample caregiver education handout on caring for a child with DDH post hip reduction surgery, including Spica cast management, that I made for an assignment for the Child and Family Assessment and Intervention elective in the fall of 2020.
  • Foundations Physical Therapy – A business plan and website for a private physical therapy practice specializing in pediatrics and pelvic floor rehab that I enjoyed creating with Ashley Hite for a class project.
  • Capstone Project – For my capstone project, I helped create a camp manual for UNC Children’s Helping Kids with Hemiplegia Camp and devised an evidence table to synthesize best evidence for CIMT, BIT, and neurodevelopmental therapy interventions.


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

DEI Experiences:

  • P Goddu A, O’Conor KJ, Lanzkron S, et al. Do words matter? Stigmatizing language and the transmission of bias in the medical record. J Gen Intern Med. 2018;33(5):685-691. doi:10.1007/s11606-017-4289-2
  • “Reflections on Race and Medicine in the Year of COVID-19 and Nationwide Protests” by Dr. Damon Tweedy, MD, author of the book Black Men in White Coats

DEI Reflection:

The events of the past year have demonstrated the amount of work that needs to be done to address racial injustices in all facets of our society, including our healthcare system. Participating in professional development opportunities as part of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative for UNC’s Division of Physical Therapy has increased my awareness of these inequities and allowed me to identify the implicit biases I possess as a white female that impact my physical therapy practice and relationships with my patients. I strive to demonstrate respect in all my interactions with patients and providers and build a foundation of trust with my patients in order to optimize their healthcare outcomes. I recognize my work in these areas is just beginning and am committed to continually educating myself in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion in order to reduce disparities in care, advocate for my patients, and promote justice.


Reflective Statement

Reflecting back on the past three years, I am proud of the personal and professional growth I have experienced during my time at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Becoming a physical therapist has been a goal of mine for over ten years now and it is surreal that after much hard-work, I am two months away from achieving it. While the rigors of a doctoral program are incredibly demanding and require significant discipline, perseverance, and flexibility, especially during a global pandemic, I can confidently say that I am graduating with more excitement for the profession of physical therapy and a greater desire to serve my patients. My experiences in the classroom and clinic have broadened my perspective and helped me to discover new passions. It is daunting to have a large variety of clinical interests when searching for jobs; yet, it is incredibly encouraging that my joy for this profession is not confined to one clinical specialty or setting. I am confident that my education has given me a solid foundation of knowledge and skills that make me well prepared to practice in any setting and I am excited to see which direction my career takes me.


I am grateful to the UNC faculty for taking the time to invest not only in my education, but in me as a person. It is humbling to have learned from such a distinguished group of physical therapists and researchers. I am also thankful for the mentorship of my clinical instructors who have challenged me to be a confident and empowered clinician. I hope to model the same level of compassion, patience, and support to my patients that my faculty and clinical instructors have shown to me.


My Carolina experience would not be what it was without the incredible members of the class of 2021. I am so thankful for the friendships we have formed, the laughs we have shared, and the opportunity to learn with and from you. I am proud to call you my future colleagues and know that each you are going to make a profound impact on the lives of your patients and the field of physical therapy. Finally, I am incredibly grateful to my family and friends, for their constant love, support, and encouragement. I am proud to call myself a Tar Heel, honored to soon be an alumna of the UNC DPT program, and excited to begin my career as a physical therapist.

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Durkin, Kaitlynn”

  1.   Lisa Johnstonon 01 Jun 2021 at 7:54 pm

    Kaitlynn- Great job! Congrats on all you have accomplished. It is so nice to see your work in one place. You have managed to put together some interesting topics in your project work. Good job and good luck to you! Lisa


  2.   Vicki Merceron 05 Jun 2021 at 9:47 pm

    Congratulations on your upcoming graduation and entry into the profession! Can’t wait to see what you’ll accomplish in the years ahead! Take care, and keep in touch-



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