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PT honor student inductee Tatiana Paz

Below is an ACAPT interview with one of the National Physical Therapy Student Honor Society inductees.  Congratulations Tatiana!

How did you become interested in pursuing a doctor of physical therapy (DPT) degree?  

I had PT myself! I had been contemplating a medical degree and became interested in pursuing a DPT degree after witnessing firsthand the impact it has had on others. I wanted to learn more about movement and the human body; I found it so fascinating.  I volunteered at the clinic where I was a patient and became an intern. I was completely drawn into the field, including how much knowledge, expertise and empathy you need to have.  

Then that propelled me forward to pursuing a DPT.  I feel we help society by optimizing movement so everyone can get back to what they love most in life.

What’s been your experience as a student so far & what do you enjoy the most?

My favorite has been the clinical experience and building relationships with patients.  I'm very much a hands-on learner and I was able to apply what I learned in the classroom - picking up all the nuances of what it looks like in real life vs. a textbook. 

I also like all the different ways you can get involved - for example, leading a research project, doing an international service learning experience and serving on the APTA NC Student Special Interest Group Board. 

Research is so important in taking our profession to the next level - and I enjoyed learning all the latest evidence-based techniques to help patients.  It was interesting to understand all the steps involved with the research too, including systematic review.

During the pandemic, my dad was my "patient" for one project - and it was cool for my parents to see what I do!  I also treated some patients using telehealth; I think it has pros and cons.  It was good that higher-risk patients could still get the treatment they need without exposing themselves, but it was challenging to not be able to fully see or directly interact with them.  It forced me to trust my clinical judgment and focus on great communicating - verbalizing to my patients what I'd expect to see and getting feedback from them. 

How do you plan to give back in your career, community, etc.?

After some years of clinical experience, I'd like to pursue teaching, perhaps starting as a teaching assistant (TA) and then moving into a more formal teaching role.

I've also been passionate about community service and I want that to continue in my career.  I want to serve both locally and in my global community.  It's so important to advocate for our profession and patients.  I hope to be involved with local coaches and leaders of dance studios so I can help reduce injuries.

Why did you become a member of the National PT Student Honor Society? 

I saw Duke students being inducted every year, so I was intrigued.  I wanted to become an honor society member because it highlights a lot of important areas in PT like academics, research, service and leadership.  It brings together some of the greatest aspects in our field and pushes our profession forward by encouraging excellence in PT and DPT education.

Tatiana Paz

Doctor of Physical Therapy, Class of 2021
Duke University School of Medicine

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