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A Personal Statement on My Pursuit of a Career in Physical Therapy

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    Physical therapy was not always my first choice in a career. I knew I wanted to be involved in health care, but I did not know what my calling was until after I applied to Drexel for my undergraduate studies. At first, I decided I wanted to be a biomedical engineer. I wanted to design prosthetics and other supplies that would benefit many who were in need. This was my dream in high school, and it was my declared major when I first applied to colleges. It was not until my pre-calculus teacher made me take AP Calculus that I wanted to switch my major. I will just say that calculus was not my favorite subject, and I knew that it came up a lot in most types of engineering. Through volunteer work and exposure to physical therapy, I felt increasingly driven to follow a career path that would lead me to earning a DPT degree. In Drexel’s DPT program, I would be able to truly apply myself and learn as much as I can about many aspects of physical therapy.

    After deciding not to follow my dream to be a biomedical engineer, I wanted to look into other careers in health care. In 2009, my cousin was in a car accident that almost cost him use of his legs. The doctors said the bones were broken in so many places that they were not sure he would have full use of his legs again. His legs were then reconstructed and he started going to physical therapy three times per week. I could not make it to every session, but when I did, I fell in love with it. Because of his determination and hard work, the physical therapists were able to strengthen his legs back to his original condition before the accident. Thanks to the physical therapists, my cousin was able to gladly prove the doctors wrong.

    It has been four years since then and now I am applying to PT school. I have been volunteering in different clinics and it has just increased my love for the profession. I started in NovaCare, an outpatient rehabilitation center located in Bristol, PA. The physical therapist that supervised me really tried to get me involved in many aspects within the facility. He let me sit in on initial evaluations, observe various stretching techniques performed by the other physical therapists, and I also talked to many of the patients. Also, whenever I did not understand something, whether it was a particular technique or how a piece of equipment worked, he would give me homework questions to take home and bring back the next day I was there. This really helped me to remember a lot of what I was unfamiliar with. One of my favorite things that happened while I was there was that I was able to audit a continuing education class on the foot and ankle. While there, I was able to see different treatment techniques such as taping, distractions, and the use of orthotics. I also got the chance to perform some hands on work. The physical therapists in the class involved me in performing different passive stretches and distractions, and I also learned how to make a mold of a foot after putting it into neutral position.

    My second volunteer experience was at St. Mary Medical Center. While there, I worked in an inpatient rehabilitation facility. Because I was only there on Sundays, it was a little slow since Sunday is the make-up day for the patients who did not receive their full 15 hours of therapy during the week. My volunteer work there consisted of wheel chair follows behind unstable patients, bringing patients to and from therapy, and helping guide patients through some of their exercises such as marching or kicking in their wheelchairs. Many of the patients seen here had just received hip or knee replacements. There were also patients that had been in accidents as well. I think that physical therapy can be an extremely rewarding profession. I love that you can see you are doing your job correctly. Leading a patient through progressively harder exercises, you are able to watch a patient progress back to their original state before their injury. Through my volunteer work, I have fallen in love with physical therapy.

    When I started at NovaCare, some of the patients that I met when I first started were discharged by the time I stopped. It was great to watch their progression through their programs. It also helped me to understand how the profession works. Like I said earlier, physical therapy was not always my dream profession, but it has grown to be. Now I am on the other end of the spectrum. Biomedical engineering designs prosthetics and other medical supplies to benefit patients. With physical therapy, I will be able to teach patients how to use prosthetics and other supplies to get them back to what they once had. If accepted into the graduate portion of the 3+3 program, I will be able to make my dream a reality and become fully involved in the health care profession.

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