Passion for Helping Others Drives Doctorate Student’s Career Goal as Physical Therapist

September 15, 2021 | News, Student Success, UToday, Alumni, Health and Human Services
By Meredith Troxel

Jessica Bausman found her passion at The University of Toledo and she’s not looking back.

The doctor of physical therapy student joined UToledo as an undergraduate transfer student. Because she enjoys math, Bausman originally majored in accounting. Sitting at a desk, it turns out, was not her professional calling.


Bausman, from Blissfield, Mich., moved back home and later found that she had a passion for helping others and working hands-on. She changed her major with the goal of becoming a physical therapist, after remembering personal accounts of a family member struggling with chronic pain and how physical therapy can provide individuals the essential skills to feel better.

“I really liked the aspect of physical therapy where the patient is in charge. You give them the skills they need to be in control of their pain without using medicine,” Bausman said.

She graduated in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and is now in her third and final year of her doctorate program.

Bausman is completing her first clinical education experience with The University of Toledo Medical Center’s physical therapy and sports medicine staff. She is gaining real-world experience with diverse patient populations, from older adults with knee and hip replacements to UToledo student athletes and high school athletes.

Advancing from shadowing to now managing and caring for her own patients, Bausman has made great strides in her clinicals. Ashleigh Stubleski, Bausman’s clinical instructor, observed her determination to grow as a professional.

“Jessica has been a great student during her 10 weeks here,” Stubleski said. “She comes in each day ready to learn, and was well prepared for this clinical as far as knowledge of orthopedic examination and treatment. She started the first week with observing treatments and exams and now after 10 weeks is managing the majority of the patient caseload.

“She has a great personality and has been able to interact well with all the patients and staff.”

Bausman’s classes have taught her the basics – examination and treatment – but the skills that really have helped her as a budding professional have evolved from her clinicals. Expanding her clinical reasoning skills has been her priority during her experience with UTMC’s physical therapy staff.

“I’ve done a lot more clinical reasoning and adapting to how the patient’s presenting,” Bausman said. “That’s tough to get in the classroom because there’s not a real-life patient who could be doing worse one day and better the next.”

Outside of class and clinicals, Bausman gives back to the community with her fellow physical therapy students in the Student PT Organization and Delta Rho Tau, a coed professional organization for undergraduate students interested in physical therapy. She was involved with Delta Rho Tau during her undergraduate career and credits the organization for strengthening her connections with faculty and solidifying her decision to continue her education at UToledo.

Bausman will graduate with her doctorate in May 2022 and will take the examination to become a licensed physical therapist. Although she is open to working in different aspects of physical therapy, Bausman primarily wants to specialize in sports medicine or join the Air Force to practice in a military setting.

In the meantime, she will continue working in the Toledo area to bolster her connections and strengthen her skills.

“I have started networking with local physical therapists who would be beneficial in the transition from a student to a full-time doctor of physical therapy,” Bausman said.

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