UMES Physical Therapy class achieves perfection

  • Thursday, December 11, 2014

    PRINCESS ANNE, MD - (Dec. 11, 2014) - The University of Maryland Eastern Shore's physical therapy program rightfully promotes itself as a place where every graduate leaves well-prepared to pass the national licensure examination required to treat patients. 

    The Class of 2014 did its part this fall to reinforce that assertion.

    All 28 graduate students qualified for licenses to practice, giving the university the distinction of producing an entire class that achieved a 100 percent pass rate on the first try.  According to the most recent available data from a year ago, the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy reports that 12 percent of the nation's 210 accredited physical therapy programs had a 100 percent first-time pass rate.

    Erin Dean and Nancy Lolila-Ramin, PT Class of 2014Nancy Lolila-Ramin, who now works for Aquacare Physical Therapy Inc., said passing the test "makes me feel like I chose the right school." 

    "I wasn't totally surprised,' Lolila-Ramin said. "We were very close as a class and we worked together quite well. We had a lot of camaraderie."

    Her classmate and Aquacare colleague, Erin McKenzie Dean, remembered when researching physical therapy programs being told by UMES alumni that "you will pass your national exam." 

    "I said 'OK, I am definitely going to UMES,'" Dean said.

    Social media exchanges and an e-mail sent by a UMES faculty member alerted the Class of 2014 that it had achieved a 100-percent pass rate.

    "It was a really good feeling," Dean said, "knowing that everyone I worked with had the same good outcome after all that hard work."

    UMES is one of two universities in the state authorized to offer a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, a credential that is mandatory for those who want to practice in that field of health care. Gaining acceptance to UMES' graduate program is highly competitive; roughly 30-to-34 students are admitted each year.

    According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, "employment of physical therapists is projected to grow 36 percent (through) 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations."

    The agency noted that "demand … will come from aging baby boomers who are staying active later in life. Physical therapists will be needed to treat people with mobility issues stemming from chronic conditions, such as diabetes or obesity."

    The group that graduated in September is UMES' 10th to complete three years of doctorate-level instruction, which includes extensive hands-on field work in clinical settings across the country.

    Michael C. Rabel, the Physical Therapy department's interim chairman, said "the entire department is proud of the Class of 2014.  A 100 percent first-attempt pass rate has been achieved in some of the prior years, and everyone is very excited that the program continues its excellent record of success."

    Interim health professions dean Cynthia Boyle said UMES' "core faculty members … work extremely hard to ensure that (physical therapy) students receive a quality, competitive education."

    In addition to Rabel, those faculty members include: Cynthia Gill, Janet Mutschler, Dennis Klima, Michelle Gorman, Les Keniston and program founder Raymond Blakely.