Before pursuing a career in physical therapy, Katrin “Kat” Gardarsdottir was set to become a nurse. She had become a certified nurse’s assistant, and was working her way through school. Before long, she realized she wanted to pursue a different path. After performing in-home care for a patient requiring physical therapy, Kat saw the dramatic difference in her patient’s life. As he regained normal function, his self-esteem and attitude improved, as did his outlook and relationship with family. It was then that Kat looked into the PTA program at Tidewater Community College, and began volunteering at Chesapeake General Hospital.
Kat earned an associate’s degree in applied science in 2011, majoring in physical therapy assistance. That summer, she joined Tidewater at the Western Branch clinic, then moved to Hidenwood in 2008. Kat has also attended the Academy of Lymphatic Studies, where she received a lymph therapist certification.
“I try to be honest and realistic with my patients. In treating Lymphedema, I meet people who have been dealing with the condition for a very long time,” Kat explains. “Some patients have gone from physician to physician complaining of swelling, and little is done for them unless they are lucky enough to find a doctor that knows of the condition and sends them for treatment.”
Her honesty is critical when she meets Lymphedema patients, because it is a lifetime condition that can be traumatic and overwhelming, and one that must be managed. She strives to help patients learn how they can help themselves, which is why she says she is delighted to meet motivated people who are committed to their own recovery.
Passionate about her patients and their successful treatment, Kat is an outspoken advocate for Lymphedema and insurance coverage for garments and care. Recently she authored an article for AdvancedPT Magazine outlining the cause and effect of good care entitled, Fighting For Lymphedema Coverage.
Kat is currently studying to earn a bachelor’s degree in health science, with a minor in management, from Old Dominion University. She plans to apply for graduate school to pursue her DPT. When she’s not at the clinic, she likes to travel, spends time with her friends and family and attends charity events. She has volunteered as team captain for the Tidewater Relay for Life Team. Kat is originally from Keflavik, Iceland.