Physical therapy program sets graduation, convocation ceremonies

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Campbell University is about people.

About students working with individuals in an engaging, compassionate way. 

Learning, understanding, caring.

“Our goal … is that our students understand how to do the job, not just be able to pass the test,” says Dr. Bradley Myers, chair and director for Physical Therapy at the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences. “It’s more about that person who’s served is an individual, as opposed to a number.”

A cohort of 43 students will graduate with their degrees on Dec. 16 in the John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center, a part of the Campbell University Winter Commencement Ceremony.
A convocation ceremony for the PT program’s eighth class is 10 a.m. on Dec. 15 in the Hobson Performance Center.

The ceremony marks the culmination of the three-year program. Graduating students will receive their doctoral hood, and the ceremonies will include the presentation of individual honors and awards. The DPT class of 2023 will hear remarks from several speakers, including representatives from their class.

Dr. Karla Bell, an associate professor of physical therapy at the Jefferson College of Rehabilitation Sciences, is the featured speaker for convocation. Bell holds a secondary appointment in the Jefferson College of Nursing for education and training in diversity, equity, inclusion and sexual and gender diverse content, her bio says.

As part of their studies, the graduating students from Campbell have cared for members of urban and rural communities. These students have served through the student-run pro bono PT Clinic and the Community Wellness initiative, which included about 20 individuals with persistent neurological conditions. Helping people suffering from health conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, ALS, and stroke.

“Our students are providing care, learning with these people for the course of about a year. They really get to know them very well. It’s really a wonderful thing to see,” Myers says.
The graduating students will have just completed two, four-month clinical assignments under the guidance of licensed physical therapists.

Many of the graduates sought experiences in local and rural settings but also throughout the country, including Hawaii, the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest, the Northeast and Southern California. Some students work with athletes on high-level performance, others with veterans or in corporate outpatient clinics. Or, for example, in nursing homes or long-term care facilities, in-home health and pediatrics.

Community is always a central theme.

“Our cohort that’s graduating this year exemplifies that service, that community,” Myers says. “All of our cohorts have, but this group has really come together, even more so as a group, to be to be very community-focused, to be very individual-focused on how to provide the best care possible and how can we be creative in doing so.”

Asking questions, learning, listening.

“The amount of time that we have with (patients), and what we’re asking them to do, is oftentimes not fun, and it’s challenging, and it can be painful. It can be scary, and there’s a lot that goes on with that,” Myers says. “Definitely, building rapport is huge. They get to know (patients) as individuals and their caregivers. …. It’s a really special thing.”