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I graduated from Hamilton in 2012 and knew I wanted to go into the health sciences/medical field, but wasn'tDanielle Mortorano ’12 sure which one. I took a few pre-reqs at Hamilton and then completed them the year after graduating while working as a physical therapist tech for an outpatient clinic. I spoke with many different graduates who were practicing as PAs, NPs, MDs, and DPTs and decided I enjoyed the autonomy of a DPT degree and the amount of time clinicians spent with their patients.

After graduating from GW’s DPT program in 2016, I did my orthopedic residency at the D.C. Veterans Affairs Hospital, became Board Certified in orthopedic physical therapy, and took a job at the Boston VA. I recently transferred to the Hudson Valley VA to get closer to where I grew up! In my current position I see orthopedic injuries including lower back pain, rotator cuff pathology, and post-operative cases including ACL repairs and total knee replacements. I also run the wheelchair clinic where I evaluate and prescribe manual, power assist, and power wheelchairs for veterans who have had amputations, cardiopulmonary issues, and generalized weakness.

My typical workday is 8–4:30 PM and I see one to two patients an hour. I enjoy the autonomy of direct access –– patients can come to PT without a prescription and I enjoy the direct one-on-one time with them. The best advice I can give for anyone interested in the field is to look into the requirements for multiple programs for PT and any other health profession fields you are interested in and take any pre-reqs that overlap. It is also important to look at the debt to income ratios for all fields.

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