After finishing a doctoral program in physical therapy in June 2011, Kaitlin Rathmann took a break and headed to Petersburg for a month-long stay with her sister Ashley, a schoolteacher. The sisters went on many adventures, played softball and other sports to stay active, and had several potlucks.

“Everyone was so nice and welcoming,” Kaitlin recalls.

At the end of that month, Kaitlin headed back east. Originally from New Jersey, she had attended grad school at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. A full-time PT job at a private outpatient practice in Connecticut was waiting for her.

She started the job in August, but with her student debt, Kaitlin soon realized she needed a better income. In October 2011 she started her own PT practice at Stonington Institute, a drug and alcohol rehab center for active-duty servicemen. “This is something I am super proud of,” Kaitlin said.

Alaska, however, was calling.

In December 2012, Kaitlin moved to Wrangell for a full-time PT job. Just six months later, she accepted a full-time PT position at Petersburg Medical Center—and hasn’t left. In September 2017 she became PMC rehabilitation manager. When the pandemic hit, Kaitlin stepped in as planning lead on PMC's incident command team. She recently earned certification in wound care and diabetic wound care and is now in a course for preventive foot and nail care. 

Kaitlin’s workdays are ever changing but her mornings are consistent. She comes into the facility around 7am to check her schedule, make phone calls, and prep for her day. After an 8:15am briefing with the rest of the incident command team, she starts seeing patients at 9am. She typically works with five to ten PMC patients daily, doing physical therapy around the facility with clinic outpatients, hospital inpatients, and long term care residents—as well as with home health patients in their own homes. She also works with wound care patients. Kaitlin documents her work and her patients’ progress. She completes quarterly assessments on LTC residents.

“Every day I am challenged by something, and it varies,” Kaitlin said of her job. “The most rewarding part of my job is seeing patients and employees succeed.”

When not working or taking courses, Kaitlin enjoys fishing, hunting, hiking, gardening, and harvesting. She and her husband Josh DuRoss also love country music concerts.

Kaitlin met Josh just as he was finishing a term with the Coast Guard in Petersburg and preparing to move back home to Illinois. They talked frequently, kept in touch, visited back and forth, and in January 2020 Josh moved back to Petersburg, taking a job as emergency management coordinator for the Petersburg Volunteer Fire Department. The couple were engaged in October 2020, married in May 2021, and expect their first baby in May 2022.