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AU News

Alumni Profile: Dr. Miranda Sutton

March 19, 2021
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A career in health care was Miranda Sutton's lifelong dream, one that her education at the Anderson University College of Arts and Sciences helped realize.

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Dr. Miranda Sutton, a biology graduate from the Anderson University College of Arts and Sciences, always knew she wanted to be in the medical field.

“As a kid I thought I was going to be finding a cure for cancer in a rainforest somewhere,” Sutton said. 

Learning about Anderson University from a friend, Sutton toured the historic campus and quickly felt at home. The University also provided scholarships that set things in motion for her to enroll. 

Sutton knew she wanted to be in healthcare. Uncertain of a specific area, she declared a biology major. She became a lab assistant in the biology and chemistry departments and shadowed various medical professionals. 

“After all of my shadowing I decided that physical therapy was the best fit for me,” Sutton said, adding that she continued shadowing, this time within various areas of physical therapy.

“I shadowed pediatric therapy, within a skilled nursing facility, in an outpatient clinic and in the hospital. I tried to get a good idea of what physical therapy has to offer,” Sutton said. 

After graduating from Anderson University with a B.S. in Biology, Sutton furthered her education in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Duke University in Durham, N.C. (Anderson University has since started its own Doctor of Physical Therapy program.)

“I definitely went in a lot more confident in my background knowledge than most of my classmates,” Sutton said, adding that after her Anderson University experience she felt well-prepared and had better studying techniques than her classmates in physical therapy school.

“I graduated from Duke in 2019 and got a job at one of the places where I had my long-term clinical experiences,” Sutton said. “I did six months as a student, then they hired me on PRN (as needed) after I graduated. I then transitioned to a full-time job that fall.”

Sutton works at the Duke Rehabilitation Institute, an acute inpatient rehabilitation unit of the Duke University Health System. She works alongside occupational therapists, speech pathologists and recreational therapists. Whether her patients had a stroke, spinal cord injury, brain tumor resection or some other neurological condition, Sutton helps transition them towards fuller mobility.

“Whether they had a car accident, have fallen and broken their hip, or had a stroke, nobody really plans to be at the hospital, so it’s really rewarding to see people who are motivated and willing to work, to put in the effort to get as much back as they can and live a full life,” Sutton said. 

One of the most rewarding moments for Sutton is to see patients progress from being barely able to move to walking out of the hospital on their own strength a few weeks later. One of the more challenging moments is seeing a patient in their hospital room, isolated for days from loved ones due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Sutton’s advice to anyone considering a career in physical therapy is to spend time becoming familiar with the field by seeking shadowing opportunities and to really get to know what’s involved in studying physical therapy.

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