Danielle Broman in an athletic training lab at UNCW
May 17, 2022

Danielle Broman '20, '22M had always known she wanted to work in health care, but she had to walk away from a successful career as a surgical technician to find where she truly belonged.

A desire to be more involved in patient care and evaluation drove Broman to return to UNCW to earn a Master of Science in Athletic Training.

“Wanting to be more hands-on, this profession was where I needed to be,” Broman said of her switch in occupation. “The profession is maturing to become more an integrated part of the health care team.”

In May, Broman will be a member of the first cohort to graduate from the MSAT program at UNCW. After receiving her board certification, she will work at Emerge Ortho in Wilmington. Not only was she a student intern there, but she also knew them in her previous career.

In fact, Broman credits the orthopedic surgeons, physician assistants, CRNAs and nurses she worked alongside as a certified surgical technician with encouraging her to continue her education and take on the challenge of leaving the career path where she was already established to begin a new one.

“Taking that first step is the hardest,” Broman said. “But when you have the support and backing of all these people you’ve worked with all these years, it makes it a lot easier.”

Returning to campus after earning a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, Broman also knew there would be at least one familiar face. Her mother, Carolyn Hartman, works as executive assistant to the chancellor and has been another “huge support system in all this,” Broman said.

The two often see each other on campus, and Hartman said many people bring up Danielle’s accomplishments, such as receiving the Hall of Fame of Academic Excellence award from the North Carolina Athletic Trainers’ Association.

“As her mom, I am beyond proud,” Hartman said.

Support has also come in the form of scholarships and awards from UNCW. Broman received the Staff Senate Scholarship and was named the Spring 2022 Outstanding Student for her program.

“The whole community is so welcoming, and it’s such a great atmosphere,” Broman said.

Broman specifically remembers her rehabilitation class as being “super challenging.” But the course taught by Graham Joseph, an adjunct faculty member in the program and an athletic trainer for UNCW’s men’s soccer team, also focused her on necessary professional growth.

“It motivated me because I saw that’s where I needed to improve,” she said. She then sought out opportunities for clinical experience to reinforce what she learned.

“It’s easy to run away from those struggles and not challenge yourself,” Broman said. “But if you want to come out better than you came in, you need to put yourself in those situations.”

The program’s strength also lies in its breadth. Students work with respiratory therapy to learn intubation and are trained in suturing. This is vital, as trainers “don’t just deal with athletes but with all patients,” Broman said. In this way, the program “raises the standard of what an entry-level athletic trainer is.”

Although sad to be leaving campus behind once again, Broman isn’t worried. “I am confident they’ve set us up for success. I’m excited to take the next step.”

Stacie Greene Hidek