Apr 20 2017

Leshin, Hannah

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Professional Goal Statement

Upon graduating from UNC with a doctoral degree in physical therapy, I hope to practice as a physical therapist in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina in the acute care setting. I intend to be an effective, efficient clinician by integrating up-to-date evidence into my plans of care and intervention approach. I plan to continue a commitment of advancing my profession through active membership in the NCPTA and APTA, via attendance of local and national conferences and advocacy events. As I grow and develop new interests in the field, I plan to attend continuing education (CE) courses to advance my clinical practice. Some specific areas of consideration for CE include vestibular treatment, wheelchair seating and positioning, and lymphedema management. These courses will enable me to pursue more specialized practice, preparing me to sit for the Neurologic Certified Specialist examination.

Career Plan

  • Graduated with Bachelor of Arts in International Relations & Spanish from Tufts University – 2011
  • Completed Pre-Medical Post-Baccalaureate program from American University – 2012-2013
  • Worked as Rehabilitation Aide in outpatient clinic – 2013-2014
  • Studied in UNC Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, class of 2017
    • Clinical Rotation I: Johnston Health, Acute Care, Smithfield, NC
    • Clinical Rotation II: Wake Forest Baptist Health, Inpatient Rehabilitation, Winston-Salem, NC
    • Clinical Rotation III: NC Center for Physical Therapy, Outpatient Orthopedic Physical Therapy, Durham, NC
    • Integrated Clinical Experience (ICE) under faculty member Dr. Vicki Mercer: UNC Faculty Clinic, Outpatient Neurologic Physical Therapy, Hillsborough, NC
    • Clinical Rotation IV: Bodies in Balance, Outpatient Neurologic & Orthopedic Physical Therapy, Wilmington, NC
  • Pass Physical Therapy Licensure Exam – July, 2017
  • Earn Doctor of Physical Therapy from UNC-CH – August, 2017
  • Obtain full-time employment in acute care or inpatient rehabilitation setting – September 2017
  • By 2019, obtain employment in inpatient rehabilitation setting
  • By 2022, become clinical instructor for DPT student
  • By 2024, obtain specialist certification in neurology



  • Organization and time management
  • Communication skills, both oral and written
  • Leadership, as evidenced through chair position for the 2016 UNC DPT golf tournament
  • Utilization of research databases to access most up-to-date information, performing searches on behalf of current clinical instructors

Areas for Improvement and Professional Development

  • Increase participation in advocacy on behalf of the profession, locally, state-wide, and nationally
  • Advance understanding of specialized topics, such as wheelchair fitting and vestibular treatment
  • Improve confidence in clinical evaluation and differential diagnosis skills
  • Increase breadth of knowledge for interventions, specifically therapeutic exercise, to promote patient-specific plans of care
  • Improve knowledge regarding prognosis for specific conditions in order to create most realistic goals for patients


  1. My primary interest is in rehabilitation for patient with neurologic conditions. Given this interest, I will utilize my access to PubMed and other databases to research and review my current patient caseload at Bodies in Balance to improve intervention selection.
  2. I will learn advanced vestibular and concussion assessment and management techniques during final clinical rotation at Bodies in Balance in Wilmington, NC.
  3. I will prepare and sit for theFederation of State Board of Physical Therapy Exam on July 19, 2017; I will pass this licensure exam on the first attempt.
  4. By December 2017, I will obtain information regarding the study techniques, review courses, and other requirements for taking the neurology certification specialization exam.

Specific Strategies

  • At my first job, I plan to seek out a mentor with expertise working with the neurologic patient population. I hope that this mentor will help me advance my clinical and critical thinking skills as I adapt to the working environment.
  • In first year as a clinician, I plan to join the APTA Neurology Section. Within this section, I plan to join a special interest group in order to further my patient care abilities. By using the forum discussions, I will also be able to network with other clinicians who focus on treatment of patients with neurologic conditions.
  • After my first year as a clinician, I plan to attend a vestibular CE course. This course is applicable to many practice settings, including acute care, inpatient rehabilitation, and outpatient, and will help advance my interest in treating this patient population. I hope that this expertise will be attractive to potential employers as I seek employment in the inpatient rehabilitation setting.

Electives and Coursework

  • Fall 2016
    • ICE – Working under my advisor, Dr. Vicki Mercer, I used my ICE experience to explore a variety of applications of physical therapy for patients with neuromuscular impairments in the outpatient setting. Dr. Mercer challenged me to become more independent in my evaluations and treatments, which prepared me for my final clinical rotation at Bodies in Balance, an outpatient clinic focusing on treatment for patients with neurologic deficits.
    • Advanced Orthopedic Assessment and Treatment – Although my primary interest is in neuromuscular treatment, I decided to take this elective to advance my knowledge of orthopedic conditions. This course was one of my favorite courses in the entire curriculum, delving into specific tissue dysfunction and treatment. Dr. Mike Gross gave us freedom for our final paper, which allowed me to explore the orthopedic effects of genu recurvatum for patients with stroke.
  • Spring 2017
    • Advanced Neuromuscular Intervention – Since I am most interested in this subject area, taking the advanced neuromuscular course was a “given.” It was exciting to discuss neurologic cases and impairments with my peers and transitional students in the online forums. Dr. Karen McColluch presented us with complex research papers and conditions, challenging us to explore new facets of physical therapy evaluation and treatment.
  • Capstone Project
    • For my capstone project, I created educational materials for DPT students about Pusher Syndrome. This is an impairment that can occur in patients with stroke and can affect rehabilitation progression. Choosing to create educational materials allowed me to enter the realm of teaching, which forced me to elevate my understanding and master the material. The final products would not have been possible without the guidance and support of my capstone advisor, Dr. McCulloch.

Product Examples

  • proposal for an aquatic exercise program for patients with COPD, focusing on increasing endurance and improving quality of life for this patient population.  This paper was written for the Health and Wellness Course in Fall 2016.
  • Paper exploring executive dysfunction in patients with Parkinson Disease for Advanced Neuromuscular Intervention, Spring 2017.
  • Capstone Project Materials can be viewed here.

Reflective Statement

As I complete the final months of my entry-level DPT education and prepare for graduation, I cannot help but think of the day I opened my acceptance email from UNC. I felt excited, nervous, overwhelmed, and proud. Those emotions are not so different from the ones I feel today, upon entering the healthcare workforce. I know that the UNC DPT curriculum has helped build a strong foundation for me to examine and treat a variety of patients. My innate patience and compassion are now bolstered by principles of patient-centered care and evidence-based practice. I am grateful to the UNC DPT faculty for encouraging inquisitiveness and for always providing the “it depends” answer. I am also thankful to have had several excellent clinical instructors over the past three years who have challenged me to think critically about patient care. My academic career at UNC would not have been possible without the support of my family, my loving fiancé Tim, and my dear friends in the cohort. I am proud to be a member of UNC DPT class of 2017!

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