Sports run deep in Dr. Mitchelle Giorgi’s ’15 family. Her mother competed on her high school and college basketball teams and her father was a semi-professional soccer player, so it was natural for Giorgi to join her high school soccer team. But she was frequently sidelined with injuries that sent her to a physical therapist. As she pursued her bachelor’s in sports medicine and worked as an athletic trainer, she realized she wanted to stretch her skills. A transition to PT was a natural next step.
In August, Giorgi graduated with her Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and plans to apply to a residency program in Los Angeles to continue to sharpen her skills. Here, she shares how an internship led her to pinpoint her passion in the profession:
“My first internship was at Vibra Hospital of Northern California, where I worked with stroke patients in the transitional care unit. Although I’d read and learned about strokes, meeting patients and learning to work with them was a challenging experience. I taught basic skills to each patient, like bed mobility, functional mobility, walking, and standing.
“One patient told me she wanted to get back to what she could do a long time ago, before her stroke, and shared how much she loved to dance. Her usual walking impairments were prominent drop-foot and decreased strength on her left side. I introduced her to salsa. When I turned on the music, she danced for five minutes with no impairment. She absolutely loved it.
“We went from dancing with music, to dancing to the beat, to walking with a beat, to walking. She left without any visual deficits. Her transformation was amazing. The experience taught me to view the patient as a whole. You need to know a person to understand how best to help them. Without this hands-on experience, I’d never have known I wanted to focus my career on neuro.”
How have your internships positively impacted your education or your career? Share the details by emailing MyStory@usa.edu.