We recently sat down with one of our very own physiotherapists, Pam, to learn more about her profession!
Q: How long have you been a physiotherapist? What sparked your interest in the profession?
A: I graduated from the University of Toronto in 1989 and have been in practice for 26 years. My interest in physiotherapy was sparked through a family friend who had recently graduated and was very enthusiastic about the profession. Being the daughter of a physician and having spent several summers as a teenager working in a medical office, I knew that I enjoyed being in the health care field. Once my interest was sparked I volunteered in several physiotherapy clinics, observed the amazing work being done by the therapists, and decided that this is what I wanted to do.
Q: What would you say is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
A: For me, the most rewarding aspect of being a physiotherapist is the wide variety of interpersonal relationships I develop with my patients. Often times, patients are in pain, stressed and completely at a loss as to how to begin to rehabilitate. I derive great satisfaction in knowing that under my care, they feel reassured knowing that I will work with them to succeed in improving their functionality.
Q: How do physiotherapists contribute to Canada’s goal of providing quality health care?
A: By implementing objective standardized outcome measures into our assessments, we are ensuring that our treatment protocols are effective in achieving short and long term goals. Access to physiotherapy has increased in recent years as government funding has shifted, allowing service to be available in more rural and remote areas. The College of Physiotherapists has developed numerous standards of practice which must be adhered to, thereby ensuring that safe, competent and ethical treatment is being carried out amongst its registrants.
Q: What would you say is the most common misconception surrounding physiotherapy and the work that physiotherapists do?
A: One of the most common misconceptions regarding physiotherapists and our work is that our treatment interventions will cause pain and physical strain. In reality, physiotherapists strive to educate their patients on strategies to reduce their level of pain. Also, exercise programs, while meant to be mildly challenging, are only prescribed within one’s level of tolerance. Progression of physical activity is always a goal, however, patients are not pushed beyond their capacity. I also find that people are often surprised to learn that Massage Therapy is not actually a regular treatment modality performed by physiotherapists. In reality, Massage Therapy is a separate discipline.
Q: What does National Physiotherapy Month mean to you?
A: The Canadian Physiotherapy Association’s purpose is to advance the profession of physiotherapy in order to improve the health of Canadians. National Physiotherapy month is a great way for the CPA to promote public awareness that physiotherapists treat people from all walks of life, with many different conditions and injuries. Through ad campaigns, videos, blogs, and local events, Canadians are educated as to the important work physiotherapists do to improve activity, mobility, and strength. This results in the overall improved function and physical independence of our citizens.
To learn more about Physiotherapy, visit the Canadian Physiotherapy Association.