October 11, 2007 — Vol. 43, No. 9
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MGH Institute student shares her path to physical therapy degree

Suzanne Palmer is studying to become a Doctor of Physical Therapy at The MGH Institute of Health Professions. She recently took some time to discuss her background, why she chose this particular field of study, and what ultimately drew her to the MGH Institute.

What made you want to become a physical therapist?

About 10 years ago, my uncle suffered a stroke, and he was receiving rehabilitative physical therapy through home care. As I observed his treatment sessions, I was moved by the level of care and skill that went into helping him. I made a mental note that physical therapy was something that I could see myself doing.

What attracted you to the MGH Institute of Health Professions?

I was looking for a school that had a good reputation, a good research-based faculty and curriculum that I felt would meet my learning needs. I found the MGH Institute researching on the Internet. The Institute’s one-year, paid clinical internship was another key component of the program that made it even more appealing to me.

What was your undergraduate major in college?

I graduated from Hunter College in Manhattan with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. I enjoyed learning about the mind and abnormal behavior. As a part of my undergraduate studies, I took all the science prerequisite courses I needed to apply to a physical therapy program because I knew, ultimately, that I wanted to pursue it.

Where did you grow up?

My upbringing was not traditional. I was born in St. Ann, Jamaica, and I spent the school months in Jamaica with my grandparents, attending St. Hilda’s Diocesan High School. During school vacations, I came to the United States to visit my mom and other family. I was extremely close to my grandfather growing up, and gained a wealth of knowledge from his storytelling and recollections of the past. We shared a very special bond, and he was one of the most influential forces in my life.

What would you like to do after you graduate?

I am in my third, and final, year of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program, halfway through my yearlong clinical internship. I’ll finish the internship and graduate in January 2008. After that, I see myself working in either an inpatient acute care setting or inpatient rehabilitation.

What can you tell people who might be thinking of pursuing a career in physical therapy?

Physical therapy is an excellent profession with plenty of room for professional growth and flexibility. The demand for physical therapists is ever-present and growing, so from a practical standpoint, you’ve got nothing to lose. For me, I know it will be a very fulfilling profession that will continue to present challenges, as well as inspiration from the patients that I will be helping to heal.

To learn more about the MGH Institute of Health Professions Doctor of Physical Therapy program, as well as other educational opportunities the Institute has to offer, visit www.mghihp.edu.

Suzanne Palmer decided to study at The MGH Institute of Health Professions based on the strength of the school’s reputation, its faculty and its curriculum.

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