Bob Long, physical therapy manager at Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital, recently earned his doctoral degree in physical therapy (DPT) from Western University of Health Sciences.
Long has been a physical therapist since 1991. He has treated patients and managed staff at Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital as well as SLCH. He has led the SLCH team since 2015 and manages 17 therapists at the hospital and off-site clinics in Lebanon and Sweet Home.
“The doctoral degree is pretty standard now; every physical therapist coming out of school has it,” said Long, who earned his degree from Western University of Health Sciences. “I took a trial class from WesternU and decided to go after my doctorate.”
Long also decided to pursue his doctorate to help train physical therapy students in their clinical rotations.
“Personally, I gained a new respect for my younger colleagues who have come out of school with their DPT’s and the knowledge base they pull from,” he said. “From the rehab management point of view, I have a new and appreciated understanding of where physical therapy is headed in the future, and a clearer understanding of the changes we must make professionally to get there.”
An important piece of the curriculum deals with differential diagnosis. “You might have a patient with back pain, but when you get their history, it doesn’t add up,” Long said. “The doctoral training helps you go deeper and determine if their pain is from another system or cause, like pulmonary, kidneys, cancer or other possibilities, not just musculo-skeletal.”
Long said the doctorate program usually takes two years, but he completed it in a little more than a year. The program was mainly online but included several weekend courses on-site at WesternU in California.