Apr 06 2022

Lambert, Kathryn

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Professional Goal Statement:

When I consider my future in Physical Therapy, I envision myself providing patient-centered care and advocating for my patients’ needs in an inpatient rehabilitation setting.  I intend to leverage my own background in research and the skills this program has taught me,  so that I can combine evidence-based practice with individualization of treatment.  I believe that marrying these ideas will allow me to facilitate changes in patients’ lives that are both functional and meaningful, aligning therapy goals with patient goals.

After gaining initial clinical experience post-graduation, I intend to advance my skill in the evaluation and treatment of patients with neurological diagnoses and aim to complete an NCS certification.  This will allow me to be more than just a healthcare provider, but also a resource for patients and their families.  At the same time, I must work to model in my own life the health behaviors that I encourage my patients to adopt.

As someone who enjoys teaching, I also hope to pass on my knowledge and experiences while also staying up-to-date on current teachings and techniques by mentoring students as a clinical instructor and facilitating mutual information and idea flow.  Finally, I want to contribute to the transformation of our health care system into one that empowers and supports patients in making their healthcare decisions based on their personal needs instead of only what they can afford.


Career Progress and Plan:


August 2015 – May 2018: B.S. Health Sciences

-University of South Florida – Tampa, FL

August 2019 – August 2022: Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

-The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Chapel Hill, NC


Full-Time Clinical Experiences (earliest to most recent):

Pivot Physical Therapy (Sterling, VA)Oct 26, 2020 – Dec 18, 2020 (8 weeks): Private practice outpatient clinic focusing on orthopedic diagnoses.

UNC Caldwell (Lenoir, NC)Mar 1, 2021 – Apr 23, 2021 (8 weeks): Hospital-based outpatient clinic, rural/underserved setting, with a ~70%/30% split between post-operative orthopedic surgeries and neurologic diagnoses (primarily post-stroke).

UNC Pardee Hospital (Hendersonville, NC)Mar 26, 2021 – Jun 18, 2021 (8 weeks): Acute care, evaluating and treating patients on all floors – ortho/joint surgeries, medical status, progressive care unit, ICU, psych ward.

James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital (Tampa, FL)May 2, 2022 – Jul 22, 2022 (12 weeks): Inpatient rehabilitation, focusing (90%+ of caseload) on evaluating and treating patients with acute and chronic spinal cord injury.


Doctoral Elective Studies:

Fall 2021 – Advanced Orthopedic Assessment and Intervention

Fall 2021 – Advanced Neuromuscular Intervention

Spring 2022 – Child and Family Assessment and Intervention


Future planning:

-Begin applying for entry-level Physical Therapy positions in June, 2022.

-Sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination on July 27, 2022.

-Graduate from the UNC DPT program on Aug 2, 2022 (official date).  Commencement ceremony to be held on July 30, 2022.

-Start my first entry-level Physical Therapist position in either the Inpatient Rehabilitation or Acute Care settings in September, 2022.

-Enroll in the APTA to remain up-to-date regarding advocacy topics, current evidence-based research, connect with other clinicians, and support our profession – September, 2022.

During my early career (By 2027):

-Consider joining the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy to keep up with current literature and treatments applicable to patients with neurological diagnoses.

-Participate in neurology-centered continuing education.

Once established in my career (2027-2032):

-Become certified as a Neurologic Clinical Specialist.

-Become an APTA-certified Clinical Instructor and mentor students in my work setting.




Communication – aids in building rapport with patients and their families, interdisciplinary collaboration and communication with other providers to best serve patients’ interests and needs

Lifetime learning – I ask a lot of questions and actively seek out feedback to help me improve my knowledge and skills.  I devote my free time to activities that provide me with learning experiences.  I took electives that brought me out of my comfort zone and forced me to become more well-rounded in areas of PT that are not my primary strength or interest.

Teaching – Many of my past and current extracurriculars placed me in a teaching role – leading dance classes, teaching preventive and reproductive health to underserved communities, coaching people with Parkinson’s to participate in rock climbing.  This will lend itself well not only to patient education, but also to guiding my patients through new and compensatory functional movements and techniques.

Areas for Further Development

Obtaining authorizations for patients, writing letters of medical necessity

Fulfilling treatment and durable medical equipment needs for patients with limited resources inhibiting their ability to attend therapy or to obtain necessary equipment

Greater experience and involvement in advocacy to support our profession’s needs in accordance with APTA’s mission and vision



-Graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill with my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree Aug 2, 2022.

-Pass the NPTE on July 27, 2022.

-Obtain licensure in the state of Virginia in August, 2022.

-Get hired for a full-time position as a Physical Therapist in an Inpatient Rehabilitation or Acute Care setting in Northern Virginia, starting in September of 2022.

-Receive mentorship in my first job while gaining experience in treating a patient population with neurological and other complex diagnoses.

-Meet clinical hour requirements and study on my own to obtain my NCS certification.

-Become certified as a Clinical Instructor through the APTA and begin mentoring DPT students.


Specific Strategies:

-Achieve “entry-level” classification as defined by CPI at my current clinical rotation in inpatient rehab at the Tampa VA Hospital.

-Follow the study schedule that I planned for myself, taking practice exams of different kinds (Scorebuilders, PEAT) every month to prepare to pass the NPTE.

-Apply for inpatient rehabilitation and acute care positions in Northern Virginia in June of 2022 in efforts to have a job lined up after graduation.

-Maintain membership with the APTA and join special interest groups to network with other Physical Therapists, remain connected with advocacy issues, and advance my skills and knowledge in neurologic physical therapy and my settings of choice.

-Maintain a relationship with UNC-Chapel Hill as an alumni to help, mentor, and support future DPT students.


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

I am interested in the notion of our medical documentation as an avenue that conveys bias.  I believe that words carry weight, and I believe that both the things we say and the things that are left implied MATTER.  It seems that many of our patients with complex combinations of comorbidities and socioeconomic factors are quickly labeled, and this is often accompanied by negative connotations that can arise unbidden in other people’s minds.  After watching people close to me struggle with this same experience, I resolved to always try to withhold judgment and give others the benefit of the doubt.  Everyone has something they are working through, unseen or otherwise, battles we cannot always hope to fully understand.

And yet, despite my personal resolutions and efforts, this article surprised me.  It was startling that the patient note written with stigmatized language seemed like something I or any of my classmates could easily write, if not paying attention.  Why is this the case?  I tend to include as much detail as possible.  And yet in this note, it becomes obvious that these details convey socioeconomic status in ways that are no longer relevant to patient care.  Additionally, I am typically inclined to quote the patient directly when documenting, in an effort to avoid speaking for them or twisting their meaning.  However, when this is used in the stigmatized note, it reads with an implication of the patient’s report as being unreliable.

This has demonstrated to me yet another way in which implicit biases can persist, even when we believe we are putting in the effort to make change.  I want to be more attentive in the future to my own documentation and interactions with patients, their families, and their other providers.  Certainly, this may take significant mindfulness on my part to ensure that I think, write, and speak in that fashion.   And changing habits requires time and consistency. But, of course, most things that are worth doing demand work.


Doctoral Capstone Project


Please view the linked Capstone Project webpage to review the deliverables produced as part of this project.

Additional Work:

Article Review and Implications for Practice – Shaping neuroplasticity by using powered exoskeletons in patients with stroke: a randomized clinical trial.

Fatigue in Parkinson’s Disease


Leadership Roles:

UNC Graduate and Professional Student Federation – Senator (Aug 2019 – Aug 2020)



Volunteer work with Sportrock Climbing Center in Sterling, VA – teaching individuals with Parkinson’s Disease indoor rock climbing, providing certified belaying services, and facilitating community support for this group.


Final Thoughts:

Reflecting on the last three years brings to mind the insistence of those before me that PT school would fly by, even as it seemed interminable.  Indeed, I find myself apprehensive as we seemingly race toward the end of this final clinical rotation and our licensure exams.

But also: I am grateful.  Looking back, I am able to see both my professional and personal growth throughout this program: I cannot thank this program and our faculty enough for simultaneously pushing, no, shoving me out of my comfort zone, while always being just one phone call away for anything I could need.

I am determined.  UNC’s DPT program instilled and reinforced a perseverance that I fully intend to leverage to take on my goals, become better every day, and relentlessly advocate for my patients’ needs.

Finally, I am excited.  A chapter is closing (one that required 20 years of schooling!), and I cannot wait to embark on this next phase of life, knowing I have my patients before me, and the full support of UNC behind me.

One response so far

One Response to “Lambert, Kathryn”

  1.   Lisa Johnstonon 06 Jun 2022 at 10:32 am

    It is so great to see all you have accomplished. As one who I think has pushed you out of your comfort zone, I have been excited to see your confidence grow as you have done things you thought might be difficult for you. You will be able to do amazing things, keep pushing yourself. Good luck to you! Lisa


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