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"Hey - I am here for whatever you need… seriously."No truer words capture the essence of Dr. Antoinette M. Shields

Updated: May 15

While the key to a good team is working together, it is also important to have a strong yet compassionate leader at its foundation.

 

“In 2019, I was looking for a clinician with a combination of both the real world and some clinical experience. More importantly, the right person would be humble and eager,” said Dr. Andrea Davis. “Then I met Dr. Shields – a West Point graduate not only excited to learn, but someone who had been on the front lines with the inherent qualities that make for a strong leader.”

 

The Leader

As a 2nd Lieutenant and Captain in the United States Army, Dr. Shields excelled in managing teams of over 100 soldiers, training personnel, scheduling, and developing detailed systems to ensure unit readiness. She was responsible for risk management, disaster recovery, and contingency planning daily. Her Battalion Commander might have said it best by describing Dr. Shields as the “finest battalion maintenance control officer I have ever observed” based on her commitment to seeing the task through to the highest standard and proven multi-tasking skills.

 

For those who know Dr. Shields, it is no surprise that she took on the lead therapist role not long after joining Davis PTSR. As the practice grew, so did her responsibilities, and years of military training made it easy to take on more. As Director of Clinical Operations, she shoulders tasks such as staff scheduling, daily operational supervision, and evaluating and creating treatment plans to ensure high-quality care for outpatient and acute rehabilitation patients.

 

The Learner

It has been more than 10 years since Dr. Shields received her doctorate in physical therapy from Neuman University. Since then, her board certification in PT was just the beginning, and she continues to challenge herself professionally by seeking further education. Dr. Shields is certified in CPR/AED and concussion protocols and has specialization in Hawk Grips IASTM, Rock Tape FMT Basic, and DorsaVi wireless wearable sensors, which establish a baseline ability, assess risk of injury, and guide the plan of care to return to sports or daily activities.

 

Dr. Shields’ leadership extends beyond clinical operations and includes her forward-thinking approach to advanced technology. After thorough research and extensive training, she was the first in South Jersey to apply the "Double Cuff" method of Blood Flow Restriction (BFR)—a technique that transformed traditional use of heavy loads into achieving growth and strength with significantly lighter loads and faster recovery.

 

The Champion

Over the years, Dr. Shields has treated a multitude of diagnoses, including neuromuscular diseases, CVAs, joint replacements, and both pre-prosthetic and prosthetic training in various settings. Nothing might have grounded her more than as an Ordnance Officer in the United States Army and combat Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, serving with the 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Hood, Texas. Dr. Shields saw first-hand the many wounded soldiers returning from war. The Pat Tillman Military Scholar assisted with an amputee support group when working at the rehab hospital and co-founded a Parkinson’s support group at her previous outpatient facility with much success.

 

To this day, Dr. Shields’ passion for patient care remains undiminished. She encourages others to push the envelope in physical therapy with a level of compassion that touches people. Beyond work, she never loses sight of spending quality time with her daughters, reading, trips to the shore, and meditation.

 

“When asked to describe Dr. Shields, I tell this story…” recalls Dr. Davis. “In 2020, when the world dropped out with the unknown of COVID, she was the first person that stepped up. I was sitting at my computer trying to decide our next move and how we would handle the pandemic. She was done for the night and said in passing- ‘hey - I am here for whatever you need. seriously.’ I replied with um- ok. She then repeated it, and it struck me differently. I said ok, thank you for that.”

 

She continued, “Over the next few weeks, we worked together, strategizing how to move forward and care for our patients and people. She showed up and did what needed to be done. No complaints - ever. We worked day and night, holidays, Sundays, almost all the time. Her actions at that time put her full character on display - hard working, compassionate, respectful, and determined.” 

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