Fran WedgeA physical therapist since 1978, Fran Wedge of Joliet, Illinois has always wanted to pursue a higher degree. But family obligations and even self confidence held her back. After staying on her mind for years, she decided to take the plunge getting her master’s degree from the University of Greenwich in London.

“There comes a time when you reflect on what you are doing and you realize that you could be doing more, not only on a personal level, but for your clinical practice and most importantly the patients that you treat,” said Wedge.

She quickly learned how much school had changed over the years.

“It was difficult returning to school initially,” said Wedge. “I had to relearn time management and study habits as well as learn computers and the internet – totally different world to the late 1970’s.”

After receiving her master’s, she quickly entered the Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy program at UAB while continuing to work.  It was here that she realized her passion again for the profession.

“The program reawakened my love for what I do,” said Wedge. “I used evidence to reflect on my practice and developed a greater understanding of many aspects of my profession. The program gave me the confidence and ability to move into academics, something that I had wanted to do, but never felt quite sure about my ability.”

Getting her graduate degree allowed Wedge to pursue teaching. She graduated in 2008 and is now the program director of the PTA program at Morton College in Cicero, Illinois.

“I enjoy all aspects of my job, seeing the students grow and learn is rewarding,” said Wedge. “I get to share the knowledge of the profession and help a new generation start in a new career.”

Wedge has written two peer-reviewed articles, one as a student and the other most recently with UAB Department of Physical Therapy faculty member Jennifer Christy. She has also written 10 articles for the Illinois Physical Therapy Association magazine PT Priority.