Dec 03 2020

Phatak, Tej

Published by

Professional Goal Statement

As I envision my future within the field of Physical Therapy, I see myself providing high quality, patient-centered care in the inpatient environment. My aim is to utilize evidence-based practice to guide patients in making meaningful functional improvements in their lives. I would like to further my knowledge and skills in the realm of neurological physical therapy, and my overall goal is to be a practicing clinician in an Acute Inpatient Rehab setting. I will give my all to each and every patient, regardless of age, race, or socioeconomic status. I will strive to be an educational resource to patients, families, and other clinicians. I hope to give back to the profession by mentoring students of my own one day, whether as a clinical instructor or adjunct faculty in a DPT program.

Career Plan

  • Sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination on July 27, 2021.
  • Graduate from the UNC DPT program on July 31, 2021.
  • Begin my first job as a physical therapist in either the Acute Care or Acute Inpatient Rehab settings in September 2021.
  • By 2026:
    • Continue building my knowledge and skill set in neurologic physical therapy.
    • Consider enrolling in a Neurologic Physical Therapy residency program.
    • Maintain an APTA membership and participate in neurology-focused continuing education programs.
  • By 2031:
    • Obtain my NCS certification.
    • Mentor students as a APTA certified clinical instructor.
    • Educate students by becoming an adjunct professor in a DPT program.

Clinical Rotations

  1. Access Physical Therapy (Knightdale & Cary, NC): Clinical time split between outpatient orthopedics and home health in a private, PT-owned clinic and in the Cary, NC region.
  2. Atrium Health (Charlotte, NC): Acute inpatient rehabilitation rotation with focus on spinal cord injury. Clinical time limited by COVID-19.
  3. UNC REX Hospital (Raleigh, NC): Acute Care & ICU rotation, floating on all floors/ICUs in a private, community hospital.
  4. Atrium Health (Charlotte, NC): Returning to this acute inpatient rehabilitation rotation with focus on spinal cord injury to further my experience with the neuro population.



  • Strong communication skills, which allow me to build positive relationships with patients, family members, coworkers, and other students.
  • Receptive to feedback and constructive criticism, as I know that it will only help me develop my clinical skills.
  • Eager to advance my knowledge and skills each day in the clinic, and motivated to seek out additional opportunities for learning.

Areas for Further Development:

  • Knowledge of the intricacies of reimbursement and billing.
  • Utilizing evidence-based practice, as reality is not always as clear-cut as the classroom.
  • Efforts to advocate for the profession of physical therapy at a grassroots and legal level.


  • Graduate with my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from UNC in July 2021.
  • Pass the NPTE and receive my PT license in the State of Virginia in August 2021.
  • Obtain a full time position in either the Acute or Acute Inpatient Rehab settings in the Northern Virginia area in September 2021.
  • Gain experience with patients with neurological diagnoses (or acute illness, if I obtain an Acute Care position) by capitalizing on mentorship opportunities provided by my employer.
  • Transition to Acute Inpatient Rehab (if not already working in this setting) to gain more experience with my populations of interest.
  • Obtain my NCS certification.
  • Become a clinical instructor to pass my knowledge on to students.
  • Search for employment opportunities as an adjunct faculty member at a DPT program.

Specific Strategies

  • Successfully obtain “entry level” status at my current clinical rotation at Atrium Health and increase my knowledge and skills within this setting.
  • Continue studying for the NPTE by taking practice exams, reading review books, and listening to podcasts in order to successfully pass the exam in July 2021.
  • Apply for positions in the Northern Virginia area during summer 2021 in order to secure employment after graduation.
  • Continue being intrinsically motivated to further my skills in neurologic physical therapy by taking advantage of opportunities provided by my future employer.
  • Maintain a professional network of physical therapists (classmates, CIs, faculty, alumni) by reaching out with questions or providing support to others as needed.


  • Fall 2020: Spanish for the Health Professions (3 credits)
  • Spring 2021: Advanced Neuromuscular Intervention (3 credits)

Doctoral Capstone Project

The Efficacy of Peer Learning on DPT Student Confidence with Clinical Effectiveness

Please view the above Capstone Project webpage to view my deliverables from this study.

Additional Products

Critically Appraised Topic

Pusher Syndrome (Inservice)

Vestibular Therapy in the Acute Care Setting (Inservice)

Leadership Roles

  • SPTA Treasurer (March 2019 – February 2020)

Reflection of DEI Experiences

  1. The Problem with Race-Based Medicine: TEDMED 2015 Talk by Dorothy Roberts
    • I listened to this TED Talk in order to deepen my understanding of how a person’s race impacts the healthcare they receive, as we have all heard of race-based inequalities in medicine over the years. Dorothy Roberts provided insight into why doctors are still focused on categorizing people by race, which is ultimately a social – not genetic – construct. Race is used to classify individuals in the healthcare system solely for the purpose of convenience. Roberts states that rather than identifying socioeconomic differences between individuals, race is an easier way to group people together and generalize their medical problems into racial categories. I definitely agree with Roberts because our current healthcare system is set up in a way such that there is only scope for research if financial incentives are provided. Researching about socioeconomic inequalities in order to provide better care to individuals is time consuming, requires additional resources, and is simply not financially appealing to our current healthcare model. In order to change this outdated pattern of thinking, we need to invest in research about the social determinants of health and how racism creates a feedback loop that prevents POC from accessing the same quality of healthcare as non-POC. This can begin by utilizing sociologists such as Roberts to educate physicians and corporate executives about how race medicine is harmful to our society as a whole and is ultimately not evidence-based.
  2. CDC & Kaiser’s ACEs (Adverse Childhood Events) Study +
    Sacks & Murphey. The Prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences, Nationally, By State, and By Race or Ethnicity | SCRIPT-NC.
    • During my third clinical rotation at UNC REX Hospital, one of my CIs spoke with me extensively about the ACEs study and how it impacts individuals over the lifespan. The major findings of the study indicate that a simple questionnaire about a person’s adverse childhood experiences (abuse, neglect, parental divorce, etc.) can determine a person’s likelihood to develop certain chronic health conditions such as heart disease, hypertension, and cancer. When reflecting on my conversations with my CI about this topic, I wondered how race tied into this finding. I was confident that race would play a role in the frequency of Adverse Childhood Experiences, and I read a brief to further my knowledge on this topic. The Sacks & Murphey brief states that “61% of black non-Hispanic children and 51% of Hispanic children have experienced at least one ACE, compared with 40% of white non-Hispanic children and only 23% of Asian non-Hispanic children.” This did not surprise me at all, as we all know that the burden of socioeconomic inequality falls primarily on non-Asian POC. However, I was surprised to find that stress due to ACEs can be genetically passed down among generations. A mother who experienced a number of ACEs can pass on her genes which were impacted by stress to her babies, which further perpetuates the cycle of socioeconomic inequality and adverse medical outcomes for POC. So, although race is a social construct, the environmental impacts of racism and inequality can affect the genetic makeup of future generations to come. This alarming fact is even more reason for us to reflect on our harmful healthcare, education, and economic policies and make meaningful changes in order to protect future generations of POC.


When I look back on the past three years, I not only see my tremendous professional growth, but also my personal growth. I hope that I will continue to demonstrate commitment, perseverance, and integrity in my future career, as these are qualities that UNC’s DPT program instilled in me. I cannot wait to begin my journey in this field! It will be a challenging, yet rewarding experience as I aim to positively impact the lives of my future patients. My classmates, faculty members, clinical instructors, friends, and family have been extremely supportive in my physical therapy endeavors, and I could not have made it through this program without them. Though there were definitely difficult moments over the years, I am so excited that the Class of 2021’s hard work has paid off. I am looking forward to seeing everyone’s accomplishments over the years!

86 responses so far

86 Responses to “Phatak, Tej”

  1.   Lisa Johnstonon 02 Jun 2021 at 2:32 pm

    Tej- Congrats! You have accomplished so much! I appreciated the opportunity to work with you on your Capstone. You did such a nice job with a difficult project. I am certain you will go on to do amazing things for your patients. Good luck and stay in touch! Lisa


Comments RSS

Leave a Reply