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Stephanie Braceland

1. How many years have you been practicing Physical Therapy?
This is my first year as a physical therapist with South County Physical Therapy, Inc. (SCPT). Prior to the start of my PT career, I had been working as an exercise technician and rehabilitation aide for five years and was an anatomy lab teaching assistant for the Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.

2. Why did you choose to become a Physical Therapist? And was there anything in particular that inspired your career choice?
I attended Merrimack College as an art major, with a focus on anatomical design/education. My passion for helping others was missing from this career choice, and I began to explore other options. Soon after, I discovered physical therapy, and this field became the perfect fit for me. I wanted to have the ability to look at someone, know what was going on, and provide them with hope during their recovery.

3. Do you have any mentors or role models who inspired your career?
I have been fortunate to learn a vast amount from many incredible people. Steve Herrick fostered my manual skills with deep tissue mobilization and active release techniques, and pushed me toward a patient education driven treatment approach. Nancy Young provided me with a love for inpatient/acute rehabilitation. Tara Mahoney provided me with new insight into geriatric medicine and inspired me to have an active role within the American Physical Therapy Association. Several professors from UMass-Lowell inspired my passion for orthopedics and neurology, which led me to become an LSVT BIG Clinician for Parkinson’s Disease.

4. Please describe a typical day for you at SCPT.
A typical day at SCPT involves an early start with a review of my caseload and preparation of new exercise ideas for my patients who have scheduled appointments that day. I hold patient education dear to my heart, so I spend time customizing home exercise programs and printouts to help my patients succeed. Then, I start treating patients and enjoy that every day is full of surprises.

5. What are some of your personal interests or hobbies?
I love the outdoors more than anything. During my free time, I enjoy hiking, kayaking, camping, and snowboarding. I also incorporate my passion for art and photography into time spent with my family and friends.

6. What do you do to stay active?
I believe motivation is the hardest part of staying active, and I strive to set a positive example for my patients. Therefore I have a running buddy, an exercise group, and a regular gym routine to help me stay active. Also, I have a huge passion for dance and belong to a dance studio.

7. What is the most rewarding part of your work?
I find it rewarding when I can provide a patient with a diagnosis, answer their questions, and help them uncover the power within themselves to overcome their injury and/or physical restrictions. My favorite part of being a physical therapist is when we approach a patient’s discharge, and I see a new person before me – someone who is no longer afraid, well-educated on their condition, motivated with a new outlook on exercise, and confident with the self-management of their condition.

8. Do you support any local charities?
I have been highly involved with St. Jude’s 5k runs, fundraisers for Camp Friendship for those with disabilities, Circle Home’s Fall Prevention Program, and many others. Over the past year, I have been growing out my hair and will donate 7-10 inches to an Alopecia Foundation.

9. What are three things you cannot live without?
That is an easy question for me: chocolate, my family, and my friends.

10. Where is one place you have always wanted to visit?
I have been to several parts of the U.S. and London. I would love to see more of the United States, and I plan to visit Australia someday since a good portion of my family currently lives there.

11. Who or what inspires you?
I always have been driven to be the best version of myself in term of ethics, personal capacities, and professionally within my career. This motivation is all thanks to my wonderful family, friends, and co-workers.