Healthcare Insider Blog

Doctor of Physical Therapy student spotlight: Greg Schmehl

  • Healthcare Alvernia

For Greg Schmehl of Reading, PA, physical therapy is more than just the end goal of recovery, but the tiny moments that lead up to it.

“It is the tiniest aspects of daily living that define your quality of life,” Schmehl explained. “Oftentimes with disabilities those events are diminished or even taken away completely. As a physical therapist I focus on giving those moments back.”

Schmehl graduated from Temple University in 2014 with a B.S. in Kinesiology, taking a year to work as a patient care assistant at Reading Hospital — a job he continues to hold— before he began pursuing his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at Alvernia.

One of the reasons Schmehl enrolled at Alvernia was that, as part of the first class of students to go through the DPT program, he would have the unique opportunity to do more than just join a pre-existing culture, but he, along with his classmates and the DPT faculty, would create one.

“As a member of the charter class I am given the opportunity to help shape the rich culture of this program,” explains Schmehl.  “Every day I look around at my classmates and think to myself we have got something really special going on here.”

Though most people may not commonly associate wound care with physical therapy, it is an important and specialized field in which Schmehl hopes to pursue a career. However, if he had to choose a more traditional route, he would focus his career on home healthcare.

He say’s he’s attracted to this aspect of physical therapy because, “with the state of the current healthcare system, people are discharged much earlier in their rehab process than before. This gives you the opportunity to see some unique cases in home-health.”

Through his first clinical rotation last semester at Lehigh-Valley Hospital’s Surgical Center in Allentown, Schmehl had access to a vast amount of hands-on learning, working with a large majority of patients with total knee replacement.

“From day one of clinical I had my hands on the patients, getting them to the gym, taking measurements, and instructing them on workouts,” Schmehl recounts. “It was a great experience, especially with the wealth of knowledge the staff had and shared with us.”

When asked what he has enjoyed most about the clinical work he’s done through Alvernia’s DPT program, and what he enjoys most about the field of physical therapy in general, Schmehl said it’s, “the moment when a patient buys into their rehab program.”

“It is at this moment you know they are really going to integrate the things you are teaching into their lives, even after the pain goes away—there is nothing better.”

Schmehl is excited for both the growth of Alveria’s DPT program and for his own future.

“There is so much to this field,” he adds. “I have only started to breach the surface and it has already impassioned me. I cannot wait to see what it is like in three years.”

Effective November 12, 2014, Alvernia University has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314; phone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org). Candidacy is not an accreditation status nor does it assure eventual accreditation. Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates the program is progressing toward accreditation.

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