Physical therapy is a challenging and demanding career. Working in conjunction with other health care professionals, the role of the physical therapist is indispensible to improving the quality of life of a patient who is otherwise incapacitated in some respect. The corpus of knowledge that must be attained is quite large and covers the entire range of human physiology, and consequently further specialization exists to learn an heal more specific ailments that afflict the patients.
My interest in Physical therapy became evident during my academic work towards the Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and Sports Medicine. Following my degree, I have worked as a physical therapy aide in an outpatient clinic for the last four and a half years where I have been able to hone my talents and learn valuable skills in working one-on-one with a diverse set of patients with a wide range of conditions. I am particularly interested and have sought further training in working with patients through exercise regimens, gait training, and rehabilitation programs, using specialized techniques such as soft tissue massage and ultrasound therapy. Watching a patient’s progress is often remarkable and awe inspiring, due to the obvious progress that patients steadily make. It is particularly satisfying to watch a despondent patient’s personality change as they slowly realize that they will progress and overcome their limitations. Aside from working in the outpatient clinic, I also volunteer at the inpatient physical therapy department at Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks, California. The environment and the patient population is very different in the inpatient setting and I have learned different skills while working with these patients. In the hospital setting collaboration is kind, as I am challenged and expected to problem solve while working together with patients, fellow volunteers, and medical staff. The professional and emotional development that I have gone through in the inpatient setting has been enormous.
I am deeply passionate about physical therapy. The minute I walk into the clinic, I think of ways of how to be a better aide. My work goals are figuring out how to make every patient walking in, feel better when they leave. I love to see patients feel that they’ve learned something new on how to improve their overall physical health. In addition, it brings me a sense of reward to know that I have helped patient’s progress and make improvements, not only in their physical state, but to know that I have impacted them in a way where they’ve acquired a knowledge of how to improve and heal their own injuries.
I am particularly interested in the work of Dr. Gail Widener. Rehabilitation of patients with multiple sclerosis and neurologic disease is a vast area that requires patience and dedication. Research into the field will allow for the improvement of techniques designed to help patients manage any disabilities they encounter. This area of physical therapy represents a challenge, insofar as it represents a progressive degeneration of the neurons. Elucidating the pathomechanisms of the disease and the symptoms allows for higher quality patient care and the development of techniques will lead to an improved patient quality of life.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Samuel Merritt University will challenge me with the diverse and intensive course load. The practical work done at the free clinic will allow me to sharpen the skills I acquire in the classroom, and the diverse teaching and student environment will enrich my learning experience and refine collaboration skills that I already possess. The renowned faculty of the department will offer me opportunities to do deeper research in the field and explore areas that I otherwise would have missed. My ultimate goals are to provide excellent patient care. The patient is at the center of health care and it is only their satisfaction and improved quality of life that truly matters in the setting. The work is demanding and tiring, but ultimately very fulfilling. I have lofty aspirations of providing excellent professional care to every patient I encounter, and Samuel Merritt University will provide me with the academic foundation necessary to do just that.