Clarkson University, Doctor of Physical Therapy
Question 1: Is PBL an Effective Learning Environment for you?
Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is critical since it contributes to learners thinking actively
as they read and are taught content. Therefore, the learners have their ideas about a topic at hand,
based on their experiences in the field. Problem-Based Learning is important in physical therapy
because it promotes thinking beyond the theoretical content in handling patients’ cases.
Teamwork is promoted because therapists have to work with their professional colleagues to
ensure positive patient outcomes. The Clarkson University, PBL program ensures that the Doctor
of Physical Therapy course learners create a rapport so that there is a group spirit. A teamwork
spirit is critical in contributing to the generation of evidence-based ideas in solving patient
problems. The Doctor of Physical Therapy at Clarkson University will assist me in gaining the
competencies I require to be an exceptional physical therapist.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy at Clarkson University PBL based program guides
learners in asking some questions when handling different patient cases. The learner asks “what
do I know, what don’t I know, and how will I find answers?” A qualified therapist should possess
knowledge on handling the three questions in addressing patient cases. The physical therapist
effectively handles the three questions through asking well-framed, clinically relevant concerns
to the patients. Through conducting research on vast physical therapy cases, therapists can
integrate the information given by the patients in solving physical therapy cases.
The course is also a stepping stone to gaining specific awareness on tactics to intervene
and understand patients’ experiences so as to formulate stable plans for patients’ recovery.
Through the three questions, physical therapists can also synchronize patient cultures and
economic situation in formulating recovery plans. The course content and my experience five
years ago will be of great assistance towards attaining a professional physical therapist
qualification from Clarkson University. I was involved in a motor vehicle accident that resulted
in an injury to my shoulder. My recovery time assisted me in understanding the kinds of physical
and mental challenges that patients go through. After my recovery, I made a decision to attain
professional skills that would assist individuals that suffer physical dysfunction like I had
experienced. The problem-based learning offered at Clarkson University is the best method that I
can use in the attaining skills that I need in becoming a Doctor of Physical Therapy. I would
thrive through the program because it allows learners to set specific goals and emboldens them to
be accountable for their professional decisions.
Question 2: Do you Feel Personal Circumstances have limited your Ability to Participate In
Extracurricular or Volunteerism? If Yes, Please Explain
My personal circumstances have limited my ability to participate in volunteerism. I enjoy
volunteerism since it contributed to my interest in physical therapy. I was volunteering as an
acupuncturist at the time that I met a physical therapist who motivated me to enroll for the doctor
of physical therapy (DPT) course. The physical therapist had a specialty in orthopedics, and had
through knowledge of the musculoskeletal system. After graduating from acupuncture school, I
enrolled to a doctor of physical therapy program. Combining the two fields, acupuncture, and
physical therapy was a great idea because the two areas work in sync to giving desirable patient
outcomes. I had to stop volunteering for physical therapy because of the extended hours of study
and research that I had to invest in the course. I also had to ensure I worked in a paid capacity to
support myself economically. Therefore, I cannot continue to volunteer while I study and work.
Wood, Diana F. “Problem Based Learning What Is Problem-Based Learning ?” Bmj
326.February (2003): 328–330. Web.
The D’Youville mission statement caught my attention, because it shows that D’Youville
teaches students to contribute to the world community by leading compassionate, productive, and
responsible lives. While working in a clinic for a few years, I firmly set my goal and dedicated
my life to the world community where people suffer in physically dysfunctional states. Helping
patients gives me a great feeling of achievement and satisfaction, encouraging my passion and
energy. Valuable and precious experiences in the inpatient and outpatient settings helped me
realize that professional skills, such as interpersonal and problem solving skills, are very
important to working with patients. I would like to become a physical therapist so that I can use
exercise and treatment to return functional parts of the body to their best state through
Five years ago, I had a car accident and injured my shoulder. While I was recovering, I
began to understand how patients feel physically and mentally. I realized that I wouldn’t recover
properly without help from others. After completing recovery, I had a strong desire to help
people who suffer physical dysfunction like I experienced. I cannot know exactly how patients
are situated, but I can predict how they feel and what they need.
I started to become interested in the health care field, and my relative, who was an
acupuncturist, influenced me to choose a future career as an acupuncturist. As I neared
graduation from acupuncture school, I started volunteering at a physical therapy clinic that one
of my professors had recommended. The clinic also provided acupuncture treatment to patients
occasionally. I had a great opportunity to see how acupuncture and physical therapy can work
together. One physical therapist, who specialized in orthopedics, was both professional and
knowledgeable about the musculoskeletal system. That aspect of the professional orthopedic
specialty fascinated me and motivated me to become a physical therapist. I observed the
potential benefits of combining two fields, and I saw that acupuncture and physical therapy work
very well together with great synergy. Just after graduating acupuncture school, I started
preparing for the requirements of the doctor of physical therapy (DPT) program.
While working in an outpatient setting at Alpha Rehab Center for almost three years, I
learned that mastering problem-solving skills is critical in examining patients, evaluating
symptoms, diagnosing conditions, developing prognoses, and implementing interventions. It is a
physical therapist’s job to identify the mental and physical factors, including unconscious habits
like bad posture and repetitive movements, that contribute to patients’ symptoms. This process is
the key to diagnosing symptoms and healing patients faster. To diagnose a patient’s condition, a
physical therapist must have an extensive amount of medical knowledge. While at my university,
I learned about special tests for the elbow. In the clinic, I had the opportunity to work with a
patient who had pain on the medial side of her elbow. I felt sorry for the patient, but I was
excited to use what I had learned in school, and I had a strong desire to find out what the
diagnosis was. With a special test (the Valgus stress test) and diagnosis of the symptoms
(swelling, pain, and tenderness), I was able to determine that she had a medial collateral ligament
(MCL) sprain with physical therapist’s confirmation.
While volunteering at the physical therapy clinic during my acupuncture studies, I often
observed the therapist with the orthopedic background diagnose this condition. However, I
learned that this was an extremely difficult condition to diagnose accurately, even with his great
knowledge of orthopedics and physical therapy. Properly diagnosing this condition on my own
encouraged me, as it proved that knowledge, problem solving, and even critical thinking are
necessary to finding solutions. The awareness of these skills’ importance led me to more
thoroughly study the specialty of orthopedics in physical therapy. To do so, at D’Youville, I plan
to take the advanced orthopedic certificate program after completing an entry-level degree in
physical therapy. In particular, I am eager to learn spinal manipulation and functional approach
With six months of inpatient clinic experience, I have learned that interpersonal skills are
extremely important to master in order to provide optimal patient care. These are also necessary
for respectful interaction with faculty and classmates, productive classroom discussions, and
promotion of proper therapist–patient relationships. Human wellness stems from physical and
mental health; therefore, a physical therapist that connects with a patient can treat the patient
more easily. If two people can build a strong relationship, then the patient will be more likely to
provide details about his or her life. This information can sometimes provide clues about the
cause of the person’s illness or injury.
When I started volunteering in Burlington Convalescent Hospital, a physical therapist
introduced me to all facilities and patients and gave me a tour of the hospital. When the therapist
treated a patient who was experiencing pain in her left shoulder, she was sullen and reluctant to
answer the therapist’s questions. With the experience of my own shoulder injury, I understood
her discomfort and why she was having a hard time. When I talked with the patient, I tried to
discuss her situation with understanding. I also recognized that she was Korean, as am I. During
the treatment, I regaled her with amusing stories about my experience with shoulder injury, and I
talked about some aspects of Korean culture. Breaking into a smile, she told me about her past
and explained the cause of her hospital visit. Through empathy, I built a better relationship with
her, and consequently, I noticed that she usually leaned on the left side of her body, which was
causing her pain. Her therapist later thanked me for finding the cause of pain. This experience
taught me the value of connecting with patients on a personal level rather than simply treating
their conditions. If I hadn’t made this personal connection, I may not have had the opportunity to
notice the true cause of her pain. The DPT program at D’Youville offers specific training that
will complement my current skills and help me develop those on which I am still working.
When I looked over the D’Youville website, I was certain that the interprofessional
simulation education (IPE) would strengthen my interpersonal skills and clinical professional
confidence for patient care. I read the IPE research paper, which proved that it enhances
students’ understanding of professional roles with respect to communication and responsibilities.
The simulation used trained actors as patients, and students practiced with other healthcare
professionals in a variety of simulation activities utilizing the experience of a real clinic. Even
after work in a healthcare clinic for a long time, it is possible to overlook important skills
necessary in the field of physical therapy. Missing skills may eventually result in huge mistakes
in a clinic. However, in the setting of the IPE, students can practice and learn from their mistakes
in a very safe environment under professional supervision. I think that the IPE will train me to be
the best professional possible, as it will elevate my skills in various areas.
Rather than becoming a physical therapist that merely treats patients, I aspire to be a
therapist that gives patients hope and encouragement. I strongly believe that the spirit of St.
Marguerite D’Youville, its mission statement, and the DPT program nourish knowledge, social
skills, and professionalism that will prepare me to be a leader who can contribute to the world