Aches, pains, injuries — every human being has them at one point or another in their lifetime. For every person with these health issues, there is another special individual that is trained to help them through the healing process. Junior Emily Farabaugh is on her way to becoming one of those special individuals, thanks to a physical therapy internship she undertook at University of Virginia hospital over the summer.
Farabaugh, an English major at Christendom, has been involved with sports for a long time, competitively swimming in high school and now leading Christendom’s men’s and women’s cross country teams. Her interest in sports helped grow her interest in the healing process related to sports, leading her to physical therapy, an ever-growing field. Farabaugh began looking for ways to gain experience in the field and see if she enjoyed the work and managed to find a volunteer program at UVA hospital, located in her hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia.
“I became interested in physical therapy this past year and started searching for an opportunity to get more involved, so I could decide if it was a career I wanted to pursue,” says Farabaugh. “When I found the volunteer program at UVA Hospital, it was ideal. In addition to witnessing the inner workings of a large, acute care research hospital, I was able to shadow a few therapists as they treated a wide range of injuries and illnesses. It also gave me the necessary experience to get a Physical Therapy Technician job at a rehabilitation hospital. The more I got to see, the more it made me want to be a physical therapist.”
UVA Hospital is the #1-rated hospital in Virginia (according to U.S. News and World Report), with its cancer, urology, and nephrology specialties ranked amongst the best in the United States. Since it’s a teaching hospital, the best of the best work at UVA Hospital, making Farabaugh’s experience working there that much more beneficial. She shadowed professional therapists during the summer, seeing how they worked with and helped patients with a variety of muscular and joint issues.
Becoming a physical therapist requires completing a special degree program and meeting a state’s licensing requirements, but gaining an undergraduate degree in an unrelated field is actually encouraged in some cases. Physical therapy requires a level of personal interaction that makes a liberal arts education, with its emphases on communication and leadership, especially helpful, giving Farabaugh a leg up on her peers.
Farabaugh is looking forward to studying in Rome this coming spring and finishing her final four semesters at Christendom, before she embarks on becoming a physical therapist after college. She is excited for her future, and the opportunity to help others become the best, healthiest version of themselves.
“I fell in love with physical therapy because it is a very practical application of teaching. Everything I am learning at Christendom is shaping me into a more well-rounded person, and is giving me the tools to communicate with others in order to help them live healthy lives. Physical therapy is such an important profession because it involves compassionate care of the whole human person and striving to help patients return to their normal lives. There is a high demand for physical therapists, and I am looking forward to pursuing such a worthwhile path,” concludes Farabaugh.