Apr 20 2017

Smythe, Meredith

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Professional Goal Statement:

My goal is to become a skilled physical therapist practicing evidence based therapy with seniors. I plan to use my doctorate in physical therapy to promote health and to empower my patients to become more functionally independent. I would like to focus my practice on geriatrics and aquatic therapy. I hope to begin my career working in a skilled nursing facility, acute care or as part of a P.A.C.E program. This would give me a range of experiences related to geriatrics. I hope to foster professional relationships and mentor-ships in order to improve my skills as a clinician.


Career Plan:

Prior History:

  • B.A. in Dramatic Arts from University Of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2006
  • Prerequisites through the exercise and sports science department at the University Of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Swim-instructor teaching swimming technique from 1999 to 2009

Clinical Rotations:

  • D1 sports: Triangle Orthopedics: Raleigh, NC. Outpatient orthopedic rotation: 8 weeks, summer 2015.
  • Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly: Burlington, NC. Outpatient neurological rotation: 12 weeks, Spring 2017.
  • Acute Care: Moses Cohen Hospital. Greensboro, NC. Acute care rotation:16 weeks, Fall 2017.

2017- 2018:

  • December 2017: Graduate with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of North Carolina
  • Pass the FSBPT board in January 2018
  • Find a job in geriatrics in February of 2018
  • Finish auditing Spanish at UNC through advanced level in order to serve this patient population better
  • Volunteer at SHAC clinic/ Spanish speaking clinic
  • Maintain membership to APTA, attend monthly meetings
  • To further my development as a new clinician I will seek out a job with peer reviewing and an option for mentoring.
  • In selecting a job I will take into account their productivity standards and factor the value that I feel the patients receive into my decision.
  • Start volunteering and working in aquatic therapy for older adults
  • Complete Manual Therapy continuing educational requirements


  • I will work toward getting my certificate in aquatic physical therapy competency from CAPTE.
  • Complete yoga teacher training and offer courses at the local senior center for older adults: “chair” yoga
  • Participate in senior center programs for Spanish speakers including information sessions about physical activity.


  • Complete a geriatric residency (either in Arizona or in Durham with the VA) and become a specialist.


  • I will work as a clinician and as a clinical instructor for PT students. I will continue to work with patients through aquatic therapy, senior center programing and working in either a SNF or in a home health setting.

5 to 10 years:

  • To be an active member and invested in my profession through advocacy and participation in the APTA
  • To become a certified geriatric specialist
  • To practice in various setting professionally to be well rounded including: home health, outpatient, SNF
  • To teach physical therapy at a DPT program in 10 years once I have some clinical expertise

15- 20 years:

  • Teach at a Physical Therapy Program
  • Work in a clinical setting with a geriatric population (with aquatic, orthopedic and neuromuscular patients)




  • Communication skills from three years as an ESL teacher in France and Ecuador
  • Empathy
  • Aquatic experience as a former competitive swimmer and 10 years as a swim instructor
  • Managerial experience from directing plays, running fundraisers and planning events
  • Language Skills: Spanish and French
  • Strong Work Ethic
  • Dedicated Lifelong learner

Areas for Professional Development

  • Exposure to different aquatic interventions
  • Continuing clinical experience including orthopedic physical therapy
  • Become more active in the APTA especially the aquatics section
  • Seek out mentors in neurological rehabilitation, geriatrics and aquatic therapy
  • Set aside time to stay up to date on Evidence Based Practice



  1. Successfully complete my rotation at Burlington P.A.C.E. to gain specific experience with the geriatric population
  2. Pass the National Board Examination to become a licensed physical therapist in January of 2018
  3. Obtain my first job in either acute care, a skilled nursing facility, or a P.A.C.E location in February of 2018


Specific Strategies:

  • Develop a specific study plan to pass the NPTE Board exam in January 2018
  • Write my capstone on a topic involving Aquatic Therapy
  • Increase my orthopedic experience by taking an ICE elective in the spring of 2017
  • Attend conferences, network, and attend NCPTA meetings
  • Gain knowledge and expertise in my final two rotations with Burlington PACE and Moses Cone acute care in Greensboro



  • PHYT 870: Integrated Clinical Experience
  • PHYT 896: Interdisciplinary Service Learning Trip, 2 years: 2015 and 2017
  • PUBH 610: Intro to Spanish for Health Care Workers

Capstone Project: Aquatic Therapy for people with Neurological Conditions. Link: Project


Product Examples:

In our health and wellness class I developed a proposal for a project to prevent falls in older adults with osteoporosis. This proposal includes the use of yoga sessions along with workshops on topics such as using good body mechanics with lifting objects. You can access the proposal here: program proposal

In my motor control class I applied Dynamic Systems Theory and Motor learning principals to a case that I had seen in my first clinical. Motor learning and feedback principals are especially useful to implement with the older adult population. You can access the case study here: Case report motor control

I interviewed an older adult  for a case study in our older adult class. With a fellow classmate, I went to her house and provided her with information on falls risks. We also examined her and gave her a home exercise program. This was our presentation: Older adult case study presentation

In the first year I reviewed a journal article on older adults with coronary artery disease. You can access the paper here: article review

For our second class in advanced patient management I did a case study on an older adult with many comorbidities. This was a good example of prioritizing care in this population. You can access the case study here: Geriatric case study with instructions


Reflective Statement:

I first was attracted to physical therapy in college because I was an athlete. While shadowing therapists I decided that I wanted to help people “walk better.” I loved that therapists can establish therapeutic relationships with their patients and that they could see progress. I found physical therapy a mysterious and dynamic profession. Since then I have seen the vast diversity of settings and interventions that this profession can provide. This programs has helped me to appreciate both neurological and orthopedic specialties. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to study physical therapy at UNC. These last three years have pushed me to develop both professionally and personally. The program has provided me with a solid foundation to work any multiple care settings. It has also helped me foster my passion of working with older adults. I want to thank the many faculty that have mentored me these three years.

class of 2017

Alternative Spring Break 2015












One response so far

One Response to “Smythe, Meredith”

  1.   Lisa Johnstonon 12 Nov 2018 at 7:14 am

    Nice job Meredith!


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