Atlanta, GA,
13:49 PM

In Celebration of National Physical Therapy Month, Physical Therapist Talks Trust and Teamwork

Q: How long have you been at Shepherd Center?
I came to Shepherd Center in May 2010 – 10 years ago next year! I have spent my entire career so far here.

Q: What led you here?
I had heard so many amazing things about working here. Shepherd Center is definitely a place you hear about during PT school as a place where everyone wants to work. Students try really hard to get a rotation at Shepherd Center, and some schools even make you interview to get a rotation at Shepherd Center because they’re so highly sought after. I started at Shepherd Center as a student in the Spinal Cord Injury Day Program. When my rotation was over, I put in my resume for openings and got hired to work in the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program, which back then, was the Neurospecialty Unit.

Q: What is it like to work at Shepherd Center?
Shepherd Center fosters a culture that is very trusting of therapists. If we work hard and show that we have the patients’ best interests in mind, we are trusted and given the tools to do what’s best for our patients, even if it doesn’t seem like the typical route to take. We are fortunate to have a lot of support from our managers and amazing technology at our fingertips. We’re encouraged to meet patients where they’re at and to problem solve. For example, I had a patient who played the guitar, and he missed it. We planned an outing to a guitar store for him that worked in elements of therapy, but also satisfied his emotional connection to music. We worked on his PT goals, like walking in busy public environments, while also working on his emotional and personal goals to get back to playing guitar.

Q: What is your favorite part of the job?
I love the patient and family relationships. I have many patients and families who I am still very close with, and we still touch base. It’s amazing when you didn’t really know how a patient would do, and then they come back to visit and have made incredible progress. The level of recovery we see in patients is just amazing to watch – even in just six weeks, we see huge changes.

I also love that the caliber of my co-workers is so high. We are like a crew, and if I’m stuck, I know my colleagues will rally with me, problem solve and come up with creative ways to help our patients. If we want to make something happen, I know that I am surrounded by a group who can help me figure it all out. We nerd out well together.


  • Danielle has a one-year-old daughter and two golden retrievers.
  • She and her husband love to do outdoorsy things like hiking and kayaking.
  • She’s camped on most of Georgia’s islands and plans to take her daughter on her first camping trip soon.


University of Georgia

  • Bachelor of Science, Psychology

Armstrong Atlantic University

  • Doctorate of Physical Therapy

Q&A with Danielle Bonner, DPT, NCS, C-NDT, physical therapist with Shepherd Center’s Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program.

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.