Meet McKenzie Health's Rehabilitation Department Therapists

The McKenzie County Health Center Rehabilitation Department, Watford City, has been an asset to the community since it was established in 1993, starting out with just one physical therapist. Now, as part of McKenzie Health, it has grown to include three physical therapists, one physical therapy assistant, and one occupational therapist.

The Rehabilitation Department can assist patients with an increased range of motion, improved function, pain reduction, proper alignment, post-surgery rehabilitation and more.

Physical therapist, Corey Samuelson, doctor of physical therapy and rehab manager, was born and raised in Watford City and has been a physical therapist for 16 years. He graduated from the University of North Dakota in 2007 with a doctorate in physical therapy and returned to Watford City in 2009.

"I moved back home to raise a family and help grow the rehab department which only employed a traveling physical therapist at the time," said Samuelson. "I personally went through multiple athletic injuries and orthopedic surgeries starting in high school and throughout college. Following my surgical procedures, I ended up going through many hours of physical therapy, which ended up sparking my interest in the field."

Samuelson specializes in orthopedic/athletic injuries, vertigo, custom orthotics, wound care, and aquatic therapy.

When asked if there were any specific challenges finding therapists, Samuelson stated, "Being in a rural community there are always challenges to hiring, from cost of living to housing. But I've been very fortunate to hire some great therapists that have been with McKenzie Health for many years and love serving our community."

Lynly Hebert has been an occupational therapist for just over 11 years and started at McKenzie Health in January 2018. Originally from southwest North Dakota, Hebert was living on the west coast when she decided that she wanted to be closer to family and recalls that Watford City was the first location in North Dakota that really stuck out.

While the objective of physical therapy is to assist with pain relief and restore motion and mobility, the purpose of occupational therapy is to help people live as independently as possible.

"At McKenzie Health, OT primarily works on maximizing functional independence and safety with activities of daily living," Hebert explained. "We categorize these as tasks such as dressing, bathing, grooming, work skills, cooking, laundry, etc. I will also work with patients after injuries to the hand, wrist, and elbow."

Her interest in the field was sparked while visiting family members during their OT appointments.

"I was intrigued by the profession and that is what ultimately led me to apply to OT school," she stated.

Jessica Robinson has been a physical therapist for 14 years and joined McKenzie Health in 2013 after relocating from northern Minnesota for her husband's job.

"I knew I wanted to be in the healthcare field. I had wanted to pursue sports medicine but chose physical therapy as the work schedules were more family friendly," she explained.

Lexyn Walker has been a physical therapist for four years, and is the newest addition to McKenzie Health's Rehab Department. She joined the team in March of this year.

"I decided to become a physical therapist when my twin sister tore her ACL in high school and physical therapy helped her get back to playing basketball. I also became interested in this profession by seeing how physical therapy helped to keep my grandparents at home," said Walker.

Originally from Plevna, MT, she graduated from Rocky Mountain College, Billings, MT. She went on to the University of Mary, Bismarck, ND, for physical therapy school. After living and working in Helena, MT, she spent the next two years as a traveling physical therapist in Montana and North Dakota.

Walker moved to the area to be closer to family, and recently got engaged, solidifying her decision to become part of the excellent team at McKenzie Health.

"I have my LSVT BIG certification which is a program designed to address the movement disorder and coordination that is a result of Parkinson's Disease. I have my OCS which is Orthopedic Certified Specialist for improved treatment with orthopedic injuries and sports. I also have taken additional courses in pelvic floor and treat various pelvic floor issues such as incontinence/leakage, pain with intercourse, issues during pregnancy, as well as post-partum. Additionally, I have my dry needling certification, so I supplement my treatment plan with dry needling to address painful and tight muscles to assist patient's tolerance to strengthening and return to activities," she explained. Walker added, "I am excited to be a new addition to McKenzie Health and look forward to helping members of the community return to their activities pain free!"

Residents of Watford City and the surrounding area can rest assured that should they ever need rehabilitation services; they will be in good hands with the experience and expertise of the therapists at McKenzie Health.


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