The Saint Louis University Program in Physical Therapy in the Doisy College of Health Sciences is a graduate program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. In the Jesuit traditions of the pursuit of truth, development of the whole person, and commitment to service and justice, our community – faculty, staff, and students – prepares doctors of physical therapy who provide reflective, person-centered care that is interprofessional and evidenced-based.
About a year ago I achieved one of my goals by becoming a physical therapist. Just recently another one of my dreams has come true by being selected into the United States Navy as a physical therapist. I am not sure when my desire to join the military first began, but growing up in a military family definitely had an influence on my current path. Many of my family members were in the military including both of my grandfathers, my grandmother, four uncles, two cousins, my father a retired Marine pilot, and my mother a retired Navy nurse. Growing up as a military dependent afforded me the opportunity to witness the camaraderie unique to the military and the prevailing love, pride and respect of country.
I began the process to join the military during my first year of graduate school while at SLU. It was a long process with background checks, medical screenings, references, interviews and tons of questions about where I have lived, jobs I have held and activities I have been involved in. During my last year at Saint Louis University, I was assigned to Scott Air Force Base for one of my final clinicals, which only reinforced my desire to join the military. While working at Scott Air Force Base I worked with our active duty personnel making sure they were fit and ready to perform their required duties. This clinical also showed me what was expected of a military physical therapist from providing treatment and workout programs, ordering and utilizing diagnostic tools, issuing anti-inflammatory medications as needed, and other duties required of a military officer.
The next step in this process is heading to Officer Development School (ODS) in Newport, Rhode Island for 5 weeks of training to learn how to be a Naval Officer. Following the completion of this training, my first assignment is at Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego, California. This is one of the Navy’s largest hospitals, providing care to active duty military personnel and their families. There is a wide range of opportunities for me at this location, such as working in outpatient orthopedics to working with those patients who have had an amputation. I realize joining the military is more than a job; I may be called upon to deploy at anytime even serving aboard a ship or in a combat zone. However, I cannot think of a better way to serve our country by assisting our wounded warriors with their recovery as a physical therapist.