Healthcare Insider Blog

Doctor of physical therapy career spotlight: Military rehabilitation

  • Healthcare Alvernia

This month we celebrate Veterans Day, where those throughout Reading, Berks County, Harrisburg and all across the United States commemorate millions of brave men and women who have fought for the service and safety of our nation.

In continuation of that celebration, we wanted to do a career spotlight on those physical therapists serving our men and women in the armed forces.

Assumption psychology students learn how social connections affect wellbeing. In her new book, Run, Don’t Walk: The Curious and Courageous Life Inside Walter Reed Medical Center, doctor of physical therapy (DPT) Adele Levine highlights her time spent as a physical therapist for soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center — the leading facility in amputee rehabilitation at the time that later closed in 2011.

After moving to Washington D.C. in search of work, Levine noticed Walter Reed just across the street from her apartment, and with the appeal of a convenient commute, decided to apply for a PT position there. Levine admits in an interview with Mimi Geerges, however, that she had no idea what she was getting herself into.
She remembers distinctly the first combat injury she ever saw. “My heart kind of sped up and I felt like I was sort of having trouble breathing and I was surprised by my reaction because I always thought ‘I’m kind of hard to rattle’.”

Levine explained, “I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was so upsetting about it because I had seen bad injuries before… and it was because I’d never seen anyone before who had been deliberately and maliciously hurt.”

To be a military doctor of physical therapy can be an emotionally taxing job. It requires a certain kind of toughness and a sense of humor, Levine emphasizes.

Working with limited recovery time for patients can be frustrating, with the goal of getting as much done with your patients as you can in the time that you have. The position also may require you to have a listening ear as you work with patients, and their families, every day who have been through traumatic incidents.

There are many benefits that come with working for the military as well, from health benefits to programs that help repay student loans. Take a look at the different requirements, responsibilities and rewards that come with working as a physical therapist in the Navy, Army or Air Force.

Run, Don’t Walk takes you through Levine’s journey dealing with all the challenges and rewards of being a physical therapist in this position, and is a telling testimony for DPT students interested in learning about this career path.

Alvernia University Doctor of physical therapy students take courses in post-surgery rehabilitation, wound care, and so much more that prepare them for any physical therapy career, including one with the military.

Below you can watch Levine’s full interview on the Mimi Greerges show talking about her book and her experiences working at Walter Reed.


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: 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.