What made you decide that was the career path for you?
Now that I have officially begun my career as physiotherapist, I’ve been asked this question a lot by my patients and new friends I’ve met. Not to mention my friends, family, and acquaintances back home who also asked me this when they found out I was accepted into physiotherapy school. I give them my “quick” (it usually drags on as I like to talk) less detailed version, but I thought expanding on this in my next blog post would really allow everyone to see why I chose this career. My story may sound similar to a lot of those who chose this career, but it’s unique and it’s my version. Please enjoy!
Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be in the medical field, whether that be a doctor, a pharmacist, an x-ray technician, or a physiotherapist; I wasn’t sure on that part. I didn’t know much about physiotherapy until I experienced my knee injury back in early high school. Unfortunately, I was one of the young female girls who increased the statistics with a torn ACL. Please don’t ask me how, the answer is ridiculous and embarrassing. Let’s just say I injured it playing sports becasue let’s face it, that was my life. Okay fine, I will tell you just becasue I know you’re all wondering. I was getting ready to head on the Milk Run (for those of you that don’t know what the Milk Run is, it is a week full of summer fairs where I was going to show my horse and win the big bucks ;)). I was washing my horse’s blanket and heading outside to hang it to dry on our deck. My dad told me to just wait for him and he would help me. Did I listen? Of course not. I decided to grab a 5 gallon pail for a step stool and hang it on the hook. Well, the five gallon pail decided to tip and the next thing to come down, was me. I didn’t just land on the deck, I fell off the deck and there was nice pedal bike waiting for me. Somehow my ankle got caught under the bike frame and my knee then twisted in the opposite direction. My brother watched the whole thing and screamed more than I did. To this day, I’m still not sure why. Now, you can all laugh picturing this! I knew it wasn’t good, but I made myself believe it was just a ‘tweak’. After not knowing exactly all the damage I had done, I continued to play sports, all types of sports—rodeo, soccer, hockey, volleyball, basketball, and the list goes on. My knee continued to give out/buckle as I played sports, and the pain eventually became too much. I finally went to the Pan Am Clinic in Winnipeg, where the physician did one test and knew my ACL was torn. I was slotted for surgery and referred to a physiotherapist.
I attended physiotherapy both pre and post surgery. I was fascinated by the whole process. I remember the detail and compassion that was put into my exercise program, the amount of care I was shown at every appointment, and the thing that stood out to me the most was that he listened and took the time to explain every detail of my rehab process. I also thought he was a magician. I remember telling my mom after one of my appointments that I wanted to be a physiotherapist—she of course asked me why. I said “Mom, he touched my butt and it made my quad muscle fire!” Of course her response was “Excuse me?”I said “No, it was so cool, he released something in my butt and my quad muscle fired right away!” I was so intrigued by how the whole body worked as a unit and that the rehab process focused on not only my knee, but how my neuromuscular system worked as a unit. As I continued my rehab program, I started to really consider it as a career. I shadowed my physiotherapist through work experience in high school and really got to see how a physiotherapist conducts each day in a private clinic.
I looked into schooling options and knew it wasn’t going to be easy as the program was now a Masters all across Canada. I started my Bachelor of Science in Brandon; I was pretty set on Physiotherapy, but wanted to keep Pharmacy an option as well. After completing chemistry (barely), I knew Pharmacy wasn’t going to be for me and that allowed me to fully devote my time to becoming a Physiotherapist. Kudos to all the Pharmacists out there for completing numerous levels of chemistry! After completing my Bachelor of Science, I applied to the University of Manitoba and was fortunate to get into the Masters of Physical Therapy my first try. My placements opened up my mind to the different areas of physiotherapy. I was exposed to numerous areas of physiotherapy: inpatient (acute, ICU, post-op), outpatient (neuro, musculoskeletal) and private practice. The amount of diversity and variation in this career excited me. I knew each day would be different and that I would be challenged in a new way. I knew that I had definitely chosen the correct career.
How did I know?
I went home everyday smiling about what I had accomplished. I wasn’t smiling becasue I felt good, I was smiling becasue I had made an impact on someone else’s life. For example: reducing or eliminating back pain in someone who had experienced it for years, helping someone walk again for the first time in ICU, discharging someone post-op after a joint replacement, returning a player back to sport, educating someone on the importance of exercise and the experiences go on. I was the person that listened, showed compassion, provided education, and made them feel their injury or pain was validated. I was allowed to be the person who I was exposed to when I was introduced to physiotherapy.
Growing up, I knew my career needed to challenge me, keep me active, allow me to communicate with others, further my education, and keep me grounded. Being a physiotherapist allows me to check off all the items on that list. I love my job and I don’t think I could have a picked a career more suited for me. I am so thankful I have gotten the opportunity to begin my career at STRIDE; I can’t wait to see how the future unfolds.
Next question I get asked a lot: Why did you move to Swift Current of all places?!
My answer is easy, I get to work at the most prestigious and respected private clinic that allows me to be the type of physiotherapist I dreamed of being. No further explanation needed!