MSJ Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) alumna, Sara Croswell '22 landed her action-oriented dream career where she is making a difference in other people's lives.

photo of DPT student holding a book

For Sara Croswell, the goal of becoming a physical therapist has literally been in her bones since she was an athlete in junior high and high school, excelling in dance, tennis, and volleyball. Her penchant for sports resulted in several injuries and multiple rounds of physical therapy, which melded with her interests in entering some sort of medical field. She knew she wasn’t meant to have a desk job; she wanted a career with a lot of action, and interaction with people.

The DPT program is a perfect fit for Sara.

“After I finished taking a campus tour, I knew the Mount was the place for me. It felt really genuine and offered a lot of opportunities for what I wanted to do; plus everyone I met was so encouraging and friendly. I earned my undergraduate degree in biomedical sciences which provided a broad foundation and offered me a lot of choices in the courses I wanted to take, all which led to direct entry into the DPT Program. Every step along the way, the faculty have been amazing, and so supportive.”

Part of the DPT application process involves completing 80 hours of clinical observations in both inpatient and outpatient environments of the applicant’s choosing. Sara’s areas were youth sports medicine and geriatrics, both of which are interests she continues to pursue. She was familiar with the sports medicine arena, having been the patient herself as a young athlete. She was surprised by what she learned during her observation hours in geriatrics.

“I really expected a slower pace when I was at the nursing home, but the patients were active and busy, with the same goals as some of the younger patients I had observed. I also learned a lot about forming relationships with patients, and how important that can be to the continuity of care.”

Sara’s progress in the DPT program took an unexpected turn when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, and the Mount switched to its Keep Learning Initiative for remote instruction, following spring break in March 2020. Having succeeded in rigorous lab courses, including Gross Anatomy, Exercise Physiology, Biomechanics, Surface Anatomy, and Neuroscience,  she knew she was up for the challenges that lay ahead.

“I had to brace myself for learning in a different way, and it all worked out. The faculty recorded several videos for the labs that covered foundational care skills, such as assessment and transport, with their family members as the ‘patients.’ So, I did the same thing. I practiced assessing balance and muscle strength on my mom and my sister.”

Sara’s excited to be learning about the many aspects of physical therapy, including custom-fitting of assistive devices and helping students with IEPs (Individual Education Plans). She’ also excited about all the career possibilities that await her.

“Several of my professors have talked about how as physical therapists, our job is to get the patients back to fully functioning, but to always remember that the care we give is individualized, and that two patients might have the same diagnosis, but their cases and their care plans are different. Physical therapy made a huge difference in my life and in my health. Now I’m preparing to make a difference in the same way, in other people’s lives. I’m looking forward to actively working in a variety of physical therapy environments. I know I’m going to really enjoying connecting with patients and helping them.”

For more information on the Mount's DPT program, visit the Doctor of Physical Therapy page to learn more.