Photo of Alumna Meghan Wonderling

 

Meghan Wonderling PT, DPT, LAT, ATC, CSCS

 

Jan. 25, 2022

(Las Vegas, NV): Meghan Wonderling is a physical therapist (PT), a two-time UNLV alumna, the school's alumni chapter secretary, and an excellent representation of what a Rebel stands for.
 
Meghan began her journey at UNLV in January 2015. Originally from Chicago, Meghan chose UNLV because she wanted to study athletic training and physical therapy. It helped that she would also be near her parents, who had decided to retire in Las Vegas. 
 
When asked what inspired Meghan to pursue athletic training and physical therapy, she shared that her mom tore her Achilles tendon and took Meghan with her to all of the physical therapy appointments when she was a kid. In high school, Meghan continued to see athletic trainers working with the various sports teams, which was enough to plant the seed and she began researching physical therapy. After learning that the path to becoming a PT required a doctorate, she started to plan. As a senior in high school, Meghan had already decided she was UNLV bound. "It was a passion. Some of the best things in life are those that click and help move that passion along. It's easier to put the work in when you are excited about what's ahead," said Meghan. When asked about her inspiration, she shared this, "You need to have that passion for continuing to move forward. You have to stay on top of changes to maintain your license and be good at what you do for your patients."
 
Meghan recently completed her Doctor of Physical Therapy in 2021. When asked what her mission as a new graduate and professional PT looks like, Meghan responded, "This is a hard question, especially as a new grad. I'm currently working at an outpatient facility. I feel like I am still trying to figure out general outpatient care while thinking about if I want to pursue a specialty or get different certifications in other areas." She continued by saying, "I want to improve on things I learned in school that I may not be comfortable with since I learned it in school but haven't done it since." Meghan also shared that many specialty areas like geriatric, orthopedic, or oncology exist within Physical Therapy. There are several routes anyone could follow, and Meghan is still exploring which path she would pursue. "For now, I'm trying to be a great general outpatient therapist and meet the needs of the community and improve on that knowledge and creativity to help the patients that I'm currently seeing."
 
Ranked as one of the nation's best Graduate Schools by U.S News and World Report, it is expected that the physical therapy program at UNLV prepared Meghan well for her intended career. "I had a solid theoretical knowledge during my undergrad years, which was nice because I relied on that knowledge going into clinicals." How prepared did Meghan feel after she graduated? She went as far as saying, "PT does a great job preparing us. We had to do inpatient and outpatient care; we had to do acute care and spend time in other settings, so we had first-hand practical experience. Also, the PT program does a great job at preparing students to work in an integrated healthcare world and to have strong communication with others." Meghan finished by saying, "I'm very happy that the school has collaborative assignments that help students learn about other aspects of healthcare, build those connections, learn how to communicate well, be friendly, and take care of our community as a whole. As the school continues to grow, we will make healthcare in the valley better."
 
Despite Meghan's bustling schedule, she still finds time to give back to the school that has given her so much. "We are grateful for her dedication and service as the alumni chapter secretary. The chapter is new and gaining momentum daily," said chapter president Lanny Leroy. As expected, Meghan has big goals for the chapter. "Our board is diverse and includes professionals from physical therapy, athletic training, radiology, and kinesiology." When asked about the chapter's future, Meghan said, "It has been interesting to see what everyone brings to the table. We are trying to meet and reconnect with more alumni each day. We want our alumni to know that we are here and a resource for them. I also think it is a great way to support integrated health activities among ourselves as professionals."
 
 As for Meghan's future beyond UNLV, she believes in giving back to things that genuinely benefit each individual. Meghan also plans to mentor students when the time is right. When asked why mentoring, she said, "you're giving back by helping to raise more people who are willing to take care of others, especially in health sciences. In the end, that improves healthcare and our community as a whole."
 
To wrap up with Ms. Wonderling,  we asked if she wanted to thank anyone? Without skipping a beat, she said, "All of the athletic training and PT faculty, because I would not be here without all of them. Meghan explained," I'm not a perfect physical therapist, and I was never going to be a perfect athletic trainer, but I think that I'm pretty good. But I wouldn't be a good PT if I hadn't had great athletic training mentorship. I wouldn't be a good PT if I didn't have great PT mentorship from all of our faculty." Then she shared a little wisdom in the form of a John Steinbeck quote that she keeps close to her heart: "You don't have to be perfect. You can be good."
 
For more information about the SIHS Alumni Chapter, email sihs.alumni@unlv.edu