by Ryan Clark
CHS Communications Director
Rachel Fields says she believes in divine intervention.
How else then, can she explain how, as a basketball player in her junior season of high school, she tore her ACL — but it led to her deciding what she wanted to do with the rest of her life?
It sounds amazing, but that’s exactly what happened.
Fields’ injury allowed her to observe what a physical therapist can do, and it influenced her greatly.
“I got a taste of it, and I just knew it was something I was interested in,” she said. That interest led her to UK’s College of Health Sciences, where she majored in Human Health Sciences, and then went on to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program.
Now, Fields and the rest of her class will graduate Saturday, and in the coming weeks, she will return to her hometown of Glasgow for a permanent position, where she will serve the rural community in an outpatient orthopedics setting.
“I grew up on a beef cattle farm and I learned that if I wanted to be successful, I had to work hard and earn it,” said Fields, who also served as class President. “Physical therapy is actually similar to farming; if a patient wants to get better, they must work at it alongside their therapist. It is a unique way of providing care to people. There really aren't any quick fixes, like prescriptions or surgeries. The patient must invest in their care — and to me, it is rewarding to walk alongside them and guide them in their journey.”
Fields said the service aspects of the DPT program, including the Samaritan’s Touch Physical Therapy Clinic, and the PT Month of Service, were especially memorable.
“We are in this profession to serve our patients,” she said. “We have been taught to go the extra mile, to see the last patient of the day who shows up a few minutes late, to find pro bono opportunities, to commit to lifelong learning, and to advocate for our patients.”
And this class had its own set of extraordinary challenges, ones that brought the students apart during a portion of the curriculum.
“We all started out together, then we got separated due to COVID,” she said. “Our clinicals were canceled, and we had a summer of online classes. But our faculty did a wonderful job of transitioning for us.
“Still, it is nice for all of us to be back together to celebrate,” she continued. “It feels like we’re headed in the right direction.”