Apr 06 2022

Silver, Rachel

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Professional Goal Statement

  • I aim to become a well-rounded physical therapist, serving pediatric patients and their families in order to optimize growth and development for the next generation. I aspire to provide compassionate, evidence-based care to all patients, regardless of their backgrounds or personal characteristics. I also hope to give back to my community, finding opportunities to volunteer my specific skillset to ensure access to physical therapy to all, regardless of their financial or social situation. I hope to maintain a strong commitment to the profession, becoming more involved in the Pediatric Section of the American Physical Therapy Association and presenting research at APTA and local conferences. I plan to become an APTA-credentialed Clinical Instructor and provide shadowing opportunities to aspiring physical therapy students and clinical education to DPT or PTA students. I would also like to become further involved in educating future physical therapists by providing guest lectures or becoming a faculty member at a DPT or PTA program.


  • Sit for and pass the National Physical Therapy Examination in July 2022
  • Graduate with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy in August 2022
  • Obtain a full-time job in a pediatric setting by September 2022
  • Complete a Pediatric Physical Therapy Residency by the end of 2025 and obtain my Pediatric Clinical Specialist certification in Spring 2026
  • Attend continuing education courses and conferences that specialize in the assessment and intervention for pediatric populations
  • Become an involved member of local/state/national professional organizations
  • Serve as a mentor for prospective and current PT students to foster growth in the next generation of our profession

Career Plan

  • May 2019: Graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • May 2019-Present: Certified Sports Nutritionist through the International Society of Sports Nutrition
  • August 2019-August 2022: Enrolled in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    • Electives
      • Research Experience on the use of Infant Massage in the NICU to Reduce Parental Stress Levels with Dr. Dana McCarty, PT, DPT, PCS (2 credits)
      • Child and Family Assessment and Intervention (2 credits)
      • Integrated Clinical Experience in outpatient orthopedics (1 credit)
      • Teacher Scholar for PHYT 701: Motor Development Across the Lifespan (1 credit)
    • Capstone
      • Infant Massage as a Stress Management Technique for Parents of Extremely Preterm Infants (products linked below)
        • Capstone Advisor: Dana McCarty, PT, DPT, PCS
    •   Clinical Experience
      • Compleat Rehab and Sports Therapy Gastonia, NC – Outpatient Orthopedics (October 2021-December 2021), 8 weeks
      • Atrium Cabarrus Pediatric Therapy Concord, NC – Outpatient Pediatrics/Neuro (March 2021-April 2021), 8 weeks
      • Atrium Health – Cabarrus Concord, NC – Acute Care (April 2021 – June 2021), 8 weeks
      • Atrium Health Levine Children’s Hospital Charlotte, NC – Inpatient Pediatric Rehab (May 2022-July 2022), 12 weeks
    •  Activities
      • Allied Health Ambassadors, August 2019-May 2022
        • Co-President, January 2020-January 2021
        • Showcase for a Cause Food/Tech Committee Chair, September 2019-April 2022
      • Student Health Action Coalition Volunteer, August 2019-August 2022
        • Physical Therapy Triage/Outreach Director, January 2020-January 2021
      • UNC Division of Physical Therapy Professionalism Ceremony Planning Committee, January 2020-August 2020
      • Student Physical Therapy Association Philanthropy Committee Member, August 2019-August 2021
      • American Physical Therapy Association Member, September 2019-present
        • Pediatric Section Member, September 2020-present
      • Personal aide to teenager with Cerebral Palsy, February 2020-May 2022
      • Undergraduate Teaching Assistant in Exercise and Sport Science, August 2021-May 2022
  • July 2022: Sit for National Physical Therapy Examination
  • August 2022: Graduate with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from UNC-Chapel Hill
  • September 2022: Begin a full-time job working in either inpatient or outpatient pediatrics
  • January/February 2023: Attend the APTA’s Combined Sections Meeting and present my capstone research in a poster session
  • Spring 2026: Sit for the ABPTS Pediatric Certified Specialist Examination
  • 2026: Take my first physical therapy student as a Clinical Instructor
  • 2026: Begin providing guest lectures in pediatrics for DPT or PTA programs
  • 2027: Begin completing research related to pediatric physical therapy


  • Strengths
    • Passion for pediatric physical therapy
    • Communication with patients/families/professionals and development of rapport
    • Organization and time management
    • Dedication to volunteerism and giving back to my community
    • Commitment to lifelong professional growth and education
    • Efficiency and compliance with insurance regulations in documentation
    • Creating individualized treatment approaches to fit the specific interests of my patients
  • Areas for Professional Development
    • Confidence as a new clinician
    • Development of expertise and experience within pediatric setting
    • Involvement in pediatric research
    • Involvement in local, state, and national professional organizations
    • Clinical management of medically complex patients

Specific Strategies

  • Identify and participate in pediatric-related continuing education coursework and research opportunities, and sit for the specialist exam
  • Maintain professional membership in pediatric organizations to continue gaining exposure to pediatric research and development opportunities
  • Attend my first professional conference in the next year and present my capstone research
  • Develop and maintain relationships with mentors in pediatric physical therapy (past CIs, professors)

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Reflection

On our very first day in the DPT program, we completed Implicit Association Tests and had a discussion regarding our results and the implications of these results as future health care providers. Since that time, as we have faced a global pandemic (which has highlighted many issues related to equity), massive political divide, and calls for social justice, I have been challenged to continually reflect on the importance of considering the perspectives of those different from my own to learn how to help break down barriers that may exist for individuals from varied backgrounds and to combat my own internal biases.

Of all the things I have read, two books in particular, Just Mercy by Bryan Stephenson and Taking on Diversity: How We Can Move From Anxiety to Respect by Rupert Nacoste have opened by eyes to how my view of the world has at times been naive. In reading these books, I realized it was not enough to simply treat all individuals with respect regardless of their background but that I must actively work to decrease systemic barriers to health care for individuals from marginalized backgrounds. I have attended one public walk with speakers related to addressing these barriers, and, as I have learned in PHYT 739 and 839, directly engaging in advocacy is essential to help enact real change. I have contacted my local representatives to voice my concern and opinions on topics that are important to me in order to begin engaging in this process. The COVID pandemic has only highlighted the inequities that certain groups face in accessing health care, which serves as a stark reminder as we head into our careers that we must seek to find ways, perhaps through pro bono work or flexible scheduling policies and hours of operation, to make our provision of services equitable for all individuals. As this program has instilled in us from our very first day, we must look inward to make note of our own biases, but we must also look outward to others to hear their perspectives in order to truly combat these biases.

Product Examples

Capstone Project Website (products linked on website)

Critically Appraised Topic: Use of Infant Massage to Reduce Maternal Cortisol Levels in Neonatal Intensive Care Units

Business Plan: Women and Infant Physical Therapy Center

Business Plan Finances: Women and Infant Physical Therapy Center

Child Obesity Community Wellness and Health Promotion Program

Reflective Statement

Since beginning the DPT program 3 years ago, I have become more comfortable accepting the inherent unknown judgment in both providing patient care and life more generally. Our didactic and clinical faculty members and my clinical instructors have pushed me to learn to trust my own clinical and professional judgment and have provided me with the confidence and skillset to develop my own treatment approach, which centers around the fact that all children, regardless of their physical capabilities, should be able to lead fun, active, and fulfilling lives. My job is to use my clinical knowledge and creativity to make that a possibility, and I have utilized the opportunities available to me throughout the DPT program to gain additional exposure to pediatric coursework and clinical experience. Over the next few years, I plan to continue pursuing additional training in pediatric physical therapy by obtaining my specialist certification and attending continuing education courses to continue expanding my “toolbox” so that I am able to provide the highest level of care to pediatric patients of all ages with varying conditions. I also hope to channel my passion for learning and my experience as a teaching assistant into educating the next generation of therapists, both through serving as a clinical instructor and by providing guest lectures or becoming an adjunct faculty member in a DPT or PTA program within the next 5-10 years.

One response so far

One Response to “Silver, Rachel”

  1.   Lisa Johnstonon 06 Jun 2022 at 12:28 pm

    Congrats on all your hard work! I am so excited to read that you are looking forward to being a CI and adjunct faculty. I think you would certainly be able to make great contributions in these roles. Thanks for all your hard work and good luck. I know you have a bright future! Lisa


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