Dec 03 2020

Fiorentino, Rachael

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Professional Goal Statement

I aim to be a compassionate, well-rounded and inclusive provider to all patients, whether I end up working in pediatrics, geriatrics or anywhere in between. While I have over 13 years of professional experience, I hope to continue growing as a physical therapy professional and continue to challenge myself and seek out any learning opportunity that I can. I intend to practice in a manner that looks at the patient as a whole person, rather than simply as ‘a knee injury’ or a ‘falls risk’ and use a holistic approach to address promoting positive health behaviors. Lastly, I hope to be an advocate for improving our health care system as I wholeheartedly believe that every single human should have access to high quality health care and aim to do my part in taking steps towards this ideal.

Career Plan

Past Experience

  • Elon University, 2007: Bachelor of Arts, Communications and Cinema
  • Lambda Pi Eta: Communications National Honors Society
  • Durham Technical Community College, 2017-2018: Pre-requisites for DPT programs
  • College physics 1&2, Human Anatomy and Physiology 1&2, Biology 1&2, Biochemistry, General Chemistry
  • UNC Self-Paced Course, 2018: Pre-requisite for DPT programs
  • Exercise Physiology
  • NC Therapeutic Riding Center, 1/2017-present: Volunteer
  • UNC Hillsborough Hospital, 2/2017-2/2018: Physical Therapy Volunteer,

Current Educational Experience

  • August 2018-July 2021: Began and complete the Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program at University of NC- Chapel Hill
  • Tyrrell County Service Learning Trip, March 2019
    • Focused on community wellness and social determinants of health, while working on an interdisciplinary team

Clinical Rotations

  • 1st Clinical Rotation: Vidant Outpatient Physical Therapy: Greenville, NC, Outpatient Orthopedics, 8 weeks
  • 2nd Clinical Rotation: Newton/Conover School System: Hickory, NC: Pediatric/Neuro, 2 weeks (due to Covid Pandemic)
  • 3rd Clinical Rotation: UNC Hillsborough Hospital: Hillsborough, NC, Acute Care, 9 weeks
  • 4th Clinical Rotation: REX Outpatient Rehab, Pelvic health: Raleigh, NC, 12 weeks

Future Career Plans

  • Graduate UNC-DPT program, sit for and pass the NBPT exam
  • Secure full-time employment in a pediatric focused environment, or pelvic floor therapy environment
  • Take Hippotherapy Treatment Principles Part 1, with the American Hippotherapy Association at NCTRC
  • Take Hippotherapy Treatment Principles Part 2, with the American Hippotherapy Association
  • Continue furthering pelvic health education with more advanced Herman and Wallace classes or APTA pelvic health classes
  • Potentially seek a pelvic health or pediatric residency in North Carolina
  • Potentially become certified in pelvic health or pediatrics



My strengths as a future physical therapist is my ability to connect with patients while being an active and compassionate listener. I have a wide breadth or previous career experience which has strengthened my communication skills, as well as time management and organization. I am able and willing to take feedback from peers and mentors and use it to help me improve as a clinician, rather than take offense. I have a strong desire to learn, and to continue learning outside of the classroom environment, and have no issue asking questions or seeking help when I need to. I strive to provide an inclusive environment for all patients in order for everyone to feel welcome and safe in my care. I am very active in my community, currently working with community members with neurological disorders, volunteering at NCTRC, Duke Adaptive Climbing, and SHAC and feel this will ultimately make me a better health care provider.

Areas for Professional Development

As a student, soon to be new grad there is a lot of room for my professional development. Gaining confidence in my practice, thought process and habits is a large area for me to grow, particularly in evaluating a patient and my differential diagnosis skills. Deepening my knowledge in regards to evaluation and interventions for more complex patients in any setting would benefit me greatly. Following graduation I would love to continue to pursue further learning opportunities in pelvic health and pediatrics as exposure to these topics was limited through my education experience at UNC.  I also feel I need to further educate myself regarding durable medical equipment and adaptive equipment, as in my brief school rotation I was introduced to many devices I had never seen before.


    • Graduate from the UNC-Chapel Hill DPT program and pass the National Physical Therapy Board Exam, thereby becoming a licensed physical therapist
    • Obtain gainful employment in a pediatric setting, or women’s health setting
    • Become involved in community health initiatives outside of the clinic
    • Become a certified by the American Hippotherapy Association as a Hippotherapy Clinical Specialist (HPCS) and work as a hippotherapist
    • Become certified by the APTA in pediatrics (PCS) or women’s health (WCS)

Specific Strategies

    • Seek continued mentorship in pelvic health and/or pediatrics who can assist in my continuation of gaining confidence within these specialties
    • Complete Herman and Wallace Level 2a and 2b Pelvic Floor Class to continue to gain experience in pelvic health physical therapy
    • Seek additional experience in pediatric physical therapy to round out my Covid cancelled rotation
    • Finish a 12 week clinical rotation in women’s health
    • Continue to volunteer my time at NCTRC and maintain my relationship with the hippotherapists that work there
    • Continue to maintain relationships with my past CIs, who have become tremendous resources for me since leaving my clinical rotations
    • Find a way to use my skills as a licensed PT to contribute to my community and work to advocate for improved health care for all


For my capstone I intended to take steps to address the gap in physical therapist education, regarding LGBTQ inclusivity. I decided to create an online teaching module to accompany the SafeZone training that we receive our first year of PT school. This module goes in depth about the health disparities and additional challenges the LGBTQ population face seeking and receiving quality health care, thereby addressing ways that physical therapists can help reduce these burdens and provide resources for future clinicians to further their knowledge on LGBTQ health.

LGBTQ Inclusivity in Physical Therapy

Critically Appraised Topic (CAT)
I wished to use this assignment as an opportunity to educate myself as to how I can be a more inclusive provider following my graduation. For my CAT, I researched how pelvic floor physical therapy can be beneficial as prehab or rehab with gender affirming surgeries

CAT – Physical Therapy in the Recovery of Gender Affirming Surgeries

Inservice Presentation
One of the reasons I decided to pursue a profession in physical therapy is because of how much I love being involved at North Carolina Therapeutic Riding Center. To educate others on hippotherapy and the benefits that it provides I created an inservice presentation.

Hippotherapy for the Pediatric Population 

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Overall the learning experiences I participated in regarding justice, equity, diversity and inclusion highlighted my need to continue to participate in these sorts of learning opportunities. I feel it is important that I continue reading books and literature on these topics, participate in discussions and workshops on these topics and recognize that my education on these topics will never be complete, in order to best serve my current and future patients. Health disparities and inequities are so very prevalent across racial, ethnic, gender and sexual minorities and the first step to address these disparities is to educate ourselves on them. Being aware of my own personal implicit biases, and consciously avoiding micro inequities and aggressions can help in development of my cultural humility in order to be a better health care provider to all populations. While I learned I may never be able to fully understand the experiences of those in racial, ethnic, gender and sexual minority groups, I can do my best to empathetic and understanding of those experiences and be aware of my own privilege as a white cisgender heterosexual woman.

Reflective Statement

Many years ago as a younger adult, I was very involved in activities that frequently landed me in the emergency room; a broken patella from falling off a skateboard, a fractured ankle from an unfortunate collision in roller derby, so many broken wrists from falling off my bike or simply just tripping on a cobblestone road. Due to all these incidents, I spent significant time in physical therapy. It just blew my mind how these magical people could take my stickly leg, useless and atrophied from weeks in a cast and get me walking, running and returning to sports that would ultimately land me back in physical therapy. When I realized I was burnt out on working in video production, I realized there was nothing stopping me from becoming one of these magical people. So, I took classes at community college, applied to schools and low and behold, got accepted.

My journey through PT school was of course not an easy one, filled with self-doubts, constantly being pushed out of my comfort zone and failing at maintaining a work-life balance. And while there were certainly challenges there were also many highlights. I am so grateful for my supportive and compassionate classmates who provided endless encouragement and internet memes. I am also so appreciative of the faculty as well as the guest lecturers we’ve had in the course of the past 3 years, assisting in furthering my education and reinforcing my knowledge. Outside of the classroom, I was lucky to have four amazing clinical instructors who I continued to learn so much from and who I hope will serve as mentors for years to come. I look forward to where this profession will take me as not only a professional but also just a human being, as I hope to continue to grow from the challenging experiences that I know lay ahead. And I hope that I can be that magical person who helps others in their recovery process.

One response so far

One Response to “Fiorentino, Rachael”

  1.   Lisa Johnstonon 02 Jun 2021 at 2:02 pm

    Rachael: Yea! I am so excited to see your hard work. I know things have not been easy especially these last few months, but you have accomplished so much! We are so excited for you and thrilled that you are one of those “magical people”. Good luck to you and please stay in touch! Lisa


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