Dec 03 2020

Griffith, Erin

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Professional Goal Statement

Upon completing the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s (UNC-Chapel Hill) Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program, I plan to provide physical therapy services to rural, underserved populations in an acute or intensive care setting. Within these settings, I hope to lead by example in caring for patients and their families with high quality, evidence-based interventions. My goal is to be known as a knowledgeable and compassionate health care provider who strives to uphold the standard of excellence that Carolina embodies.


Career Plan


  • December 2017: Graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise science and minor in health promotion
  • December 2017 to August 2018: Employed as a rehabilitation technician in wound care and acute care settings at Northern Regional Hospital in Mount Airy, North Carolina
  • August 2018: Enrolled in UNC-Chapel Hill’s DPT program
  • September 2018 to July 2019: Served as a community assistant to adults with cerebral palsy and developmental disabilities in aquatic- and land-based exercise programs
  • Clinical Education Experiences
    • Duke Specialty Rehab Services Midtown | Raleigh, North Carolina: May 2019 to June 2019 (8 weeks)
    • Vidant Medical Center | Greenville, North Carolina: March 2020 (2 weeks)
    • Abilitations Children’s Therapy and Wellness Center | Raleigh, North Carolina: March 2021 to April 2021 (9 weeks)
    • North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center | Chapel Hill, North Carolina: May 2021 to July 2021 (12 weeks)
  • July 2021: Achieved a passing score on the National Physical Therapy Examination to obtain licensure in North Carolina
  • July 2021: Graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill’s DPT program


  • 2021: Obtain full-time employment in an acute or intensive care setting that will challenge my knowledge and training and provide me with mentoring relationships for further learning
  • 2023: Become a credentialed clinical instructor in preparing for and maintaining clinical experiences with student physical therapists
  • 2026: Pursue opportunities for leadership development and managerial advancement within my place of employment




  • Use of effective verbal and non-verbal communication skills to develop intra- and interprofessional relationships
  • Organization and attention to detail that is reflected in the caliber of my work, both inside and outside of the classroom
  • Application of feedback to improve the quality of clinical performance without defensiveness
  • Independent management of caseloads in neurological and burn intensive care units

Areas for Professional Growth

  • Implementation of time management strategies to exercise conscious control of time and maximize productivity
  • Inclusion of culturally and linguistically competent practices, other health care providers, and relevant community resources into a comprehensive plan of care
  • Advocacy for the physical therapy profession at the state and federal levels



My areas of interest include serving rural North Carolina, particularly pediatric or geriatric populations, in acute or intensive care settings. These populations are on opposite ends of the aging continuum, but opportunities for patient care across the lifespan are welcome. With a range of experience in child and adult treatment of trauma and burn-related injuries, intellectual and developmental disabilities, pediatric-specific conditions, and more, I will be equipped for a variety of hospital positions within months of graduation.

  • Increase involvement in the APTA, APTA North Carolina, and special interest groups beginning in January 2021
  • Secure full-time employment in the Piedmont Triad within three months of graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill



  • Maintain membership in the APTA, APTA North Carolina, and special interest groups throughout my professional career
  • Attend APTA-sponsored events and state and national conferences, including Legislative Advocacy Day and Combined Sections Meeting
  • Utilize career exploration and professional development resources within UNC-Chapel Hill and the Division of Physical Therapy for job application preparation
  • Build and maintain a professional network through frequent and deliberate communication with professors, health care professionals, peers, and potential employers


Elective Courses

SOWO 843: Older Adults: Theory and Practice (3 credits)

  • This course fostered an understanding of normal aging, illness, and common challenges associated with aging as well as the skills needed to serve older adults and their care partners. This information will likely be applied in the context of acute care physical therapy, thinking about patients’ physical performance during admission and its effect on their discharge recommendations.

PHYT 885: Advanced Neuromuscular Intervention (3 credits)

  • This course provided content in neurology across the lifespan and practice settings. With the opportunity to explore an individual interest in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, I developed a series of documents that describe its pathology and pathophysiology, disease progression, and prioritized physical therapy interventions.

PHYT 754: Research Experience (1 credit)

  • This course supported my involvement in Dr. Debbie Thorpe’s research project regarding the effects of a guided aquatic resistive exercise program, Adults with Cerebral palsy Training to iNcrease Overall Wellness (ACTNOW), in adults with cerebral palsy. I was responsible for secondary data analysis and interpretation and drafting the results into a manuscript for use in my capstone project in the spring semester.




Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

  • 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.
  • Douglass, F., Western Reserve College & African American Pamphlet Collection. (1854) The claims of the Negro, ethnologically considered: an address before the literary societies of Western Reserve College, at commencement. [Rochester N.Y.: Printed by Lee, Mann & Co] [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

Engaging in these justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion experiences has reiterated the need for holistic efforts from healthcare professionals to provide equitable care and thereby minimize healthcare disparities. In combination with previous implicit bias trainings, these references suggest avoiding stigmatizing language, suppressing biased behaviors, and taking action against injustices. The standard that I am held to by the APTA follows suit with this direction, challenging me to think of my patients first and all other factors second. In my clinical practice, I can consider one’s cultural experiences when developing their plan of care, document with neutral terminology, and follow the golden rule of treating others the way that I want to be treated. Just as Douglass speaks about being deprived of the law, it is my duty to ensure that patients are not deprived of the person-centered, high quality healthcare that they are entitled to.


Reflective Statement

When reflecting on the differences between being a first- and third-year student, a few things come to mind: my confidence, skill level, malleability, and perhaps most importantly, my acceptance of uncertainty. It is no secret that physical therapy school is tough, but when a global pandemic is thrown into the mix, those “it depends” answers ring evermore true. The flexibility that the pandemic has forced upon me has molded me into a better student and clinician and given me opportunities that I would have shied away from before. While polishing my clinical and academic skills, I have been able to write a manuscript with one of my professors and role models and work towards my goal of providing intensive, hospital-based care in our local burn center. These things were not in my capabilities three years ago, but I am thankful, and even proud, that they are now.

Being a Tar Heel has been a long-time dream of mine, and it is surreal that this dream has turned into reality. Thank you to my family, friends, classmates, and the faculty and staff at Carolina. I am ready to take what I have learned to my hometown, where my efforts will be spent improving the health of North Carolina’s own. Whether in pediatrics, neurology, or another setting, I hope to build my acute care career by getting patients out of their beds and back to their lives.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Griffith, Erin”

  1.   Deborah Thorpe, PT, PhDon 02 Jun 2021 at 10:49 am

    YOu have accomplished a lot since becoming a Tar Heel! I loved your idea for a community-based health promotion program for children with CP! I thoroughly enjoyed mentoring you through your research elective and your capstone and you should be very proud that we have a very good draft of the manuscript for submission! Your dedication to learning and your perseverance through this pandemic are admirable. You are on your way to becoming a competent therapist and will make a difference in any rural community that you choose to practice! Please stay in touch and congratulations!


  2.   Lisa Johnstonon 02 Jun 2021 at 2:06 pm

    Erin- Great job on your portfolio. This does a nice job of showing just a few things that you have accomplished and learned along the way. You should be very proud. Good luck to you! Lisa


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