Mar 28 2023

Saffer, Kally

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Professional Goal Statement

As a Physical Therapist receiving my Doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I plan to improve the health and ability of my community through unbiased, holistic, and evidence-based care. I view my role as a clinician as the opportunity to build a community through combining excellent, individualized care with encouragement and support. I will utilize my critical reasoning, knowledge of the human body and experience working in a wide variety of settings to treat each patient with the detail and informed reasoning that they deserve. My goal is to find employment at a clinic that prioritizes mentorship and continuing education to aid me in constructing a practice style that makes me excited to work with my patients every day while maintaining the highest quality of care. I plan to one day be in the position to assist Physical Therapy students and new graduates in discovering their own approach to their practice by working as a Clinical Instructor.

Career Plan

Past Accomplishments:

  • May 2019: Graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a BA in Exercise and Sport Science
  • July – December 2019: Employed as a Physical Therapy Technician at a privately owned, outpatient orthopedic clinic in Kitty Hawk, NC.
  • January – April 2020: Employed as a Physical Therapy Technician at an outpatient orthopedic clinic serving the rural community of Yadkinville, NC.
  • August 2020 – July 2023: Enrolled in UNC-Chapel Hill’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy program.
  • August 2020 – July 2023: Served on the Community Outreach Committee for the Allied Health Ambassadors Association
  • September 2021 – January 2022: Chair of Event Planning for the Students of Physical Therapy Association
  • January – May 2023: Graduate Student Assistant
  • February – May 2023: Research Team Member at UNC Kinesiology Research Lab
  • July 2023: Graduate with my Doctorate of Physical Therapy from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Clinical Rotations:

  • UNC Wayne Memorial Hospital / Goldsboro, NC / June 2021 to August 2021
  • NC Center for PT / Durham, NC / February 2022 to April 2022
  • Carol Woods / Chapel Hill, NC / April 2022 to June 2022
  • Integrative Therapies / Chapel Hill, NC / May 2023 to July 2023

Elective Courses:

  • PHYT 875: Advanced Orthopedic Assessment
  • PHYT 872: Teacher Scholar for PHYT 734: Musculoskeletal II
  • PHYT 874: Topics in Sports Physical Therapy
  • PHYT 870: Integrative Clinical Experience

Doctoral Capstone and Additional Projects:

Future Goals:

  • Pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in July, 2023.
  • Gain employment as a full-time, physical therapist in an outpatient orthopedic clinic that offers mentorship, a wide variety of patients and an opportunity to build upon my education within my practice.
  • Obtain my Dry Needling Certification.
  • Become a Certified Clinical Instructor for the American Physical Therapy Association.
  • Pursue leadership opportunities within my place of employment or pursue ownership of my own clinic.



  • Interpersonal skills and recognizing the importance of different communication styles with different patients and interdisciplinary team members
  • Leadership
  • Time Management
  • Multitasking
  • Patient Education and Buy in
  • Motivation and optimistic outlook
  • Attention to Detail

Areas for Professional Development

  • Conflict Resolution
  • Efficient integration of research into my day-to-day practice
  • Involvement in Legislation
  • Confident Delegation


  • Pass the NPTE in 2023
  • Gain full-time employment at an outpatient orthopedic clinic or an outpatient clinic specializing in older adults
  • Accept a position at a clinic that prioritizes mentorship and continuing education
  • Become an integral part of a well-functioning clinic by obtaining a leadership role
  • Remain a member of the APTA
  • Become a Clinical Instructor

Specific Strategies

  • Utilize Final Frontier and Scorebuilders study materials to prepare for the NPTE.
  • Discuss employment opportunities with previous and current clinical instructors and employers.
  • Utilize the connections I have made through my education at UNC and my clinical experiences to maintain and grow my network as a PT.
  • Maintain affiliation with the APTA and attend CSM in 2024
  • Attend dry needling certification course in 2024
  • Become certified as a Clinical Instructor by 2028
  • Shadow potential places of employment to ensure a good fit and personal fulfillment within my profession.

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

I appreciate UNC-Chapel Hill’s commitment to integrating opportunities to build upon justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion as an individual and within the community. I have been provided access to great podcasts, TED talks, and community discussions that have highlighted the importance of these topics and their role in the healthcare space. These resources have not only allowed me to recognize and address my own unconscious biases, but also gave me the opportunity to learn from peers and community members about their individual experiences dealing with justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in higher level education and within the healthcare system. These opportunities highlighted the importance of active listening- especially to those who have lived a different experience than you- and taking the time to ensure that you are providing a safe and comfortable space for your peers and patients to share these experiences. The best care is individualized care, and you cannot provide this without taking the time to learn about your patients past experiences, cultural beliefs, and expectations regarding their healthcare.

Reflective Statement

As my time comes to an end as a student of Physical Therapy at UNC-Chapel Hill, I am able to reflect on how much I have grown over the past three years as both a physical therapist and as a young adult. Entering into this program, I had confidence in my past accomplishments and who I was at that point in time, but I was uncertain about how I would handle the rigor of graduate school. I learned, almost immediately, that success is flourished by community, and this was a theme that I saw throughout my entire career as a student of Physical Therapy at UNC. No matter what hardship or success I have faced over the past three years, I have had a cohort of individuals to support me, celebrate with, and teach me the value of community. I am more certain now, than ever, that I want to continue to surround myself with likeminded individuals who not only have a passion for what they do each day, but find importance in supporting those around them.

A supportive community in combination with a love for working with patients and dedication to my studies have allowed me to gain confidence in my clinical skillset, fine tune my clinical reasoning, and create lasting relationships with professors, mentors, and clinical instructors. I plan on continuing to build upon these relationships as I transition into the next steps of my career and build my network as a physical therapist. I look forward to passing my NPTE exam, earning my dry needling certification and becoming a clinical instructor within the five years following graduation. Following that, my goals are to either take on a leadership position within my established clinic, pursue the opening of my own practice in North Carolina, and/or seek the opportunity to become an educator or adjunct professor for a Physical Therapy program.

I would not be the person and Physical Therapist that I am today without the incredible professors, mentors, classmates, and administrators at UNC Chapel Hill, and I am incredibly thankful for my time within this program.

One response so far

One Response to “Saffer, Kally”

  1.   Lisa Johnstonon 31 May 2023 at 9:00 pm

    Kally- Thank you for all your hard work and for sharing just a few pieces of your work through your capstone. I am so impressed to see what you have managed to accomplish. I will look forward to seeing what is to come and to work with you in the future as a CI and maybe more than that! Good luck to you!! Lisa


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