After what seems like a lifetime of school, with countless assessments, human anatomy labs, exams, projects, and hours of practice, my journey towards becoming a licensed physiotherapist is almost complete and I am nearing that finish line! I have had the privilege of spending my final student internship at Prairie Trail Physiotherapy. My time there has been the perfect way to weave together everything that I have learned throughout the course of my degree. I have had the pleasure of working alongside not one but two tremendously knowledgeable and experienced physiotherapists; Kristi Hunter and Sarah Bleichert. It is thanks to their patience and their wonderful abilities to teach, the openness and willingness of their patients for me to work with them, and the support of the entire staff of Prairie Trail that I have learned an invaluable amount that simply cannot be taught in school.
The past six weeks have shown me how all injuries that come in their doors fall within a very wide spectrum; some cases can be more far more intricate and complex than they seem at first, and in other cases what may look like a complicated issue can all boil down to one very treatable cause. This is not to say that there is always a quick fix an injury, but rather, the root of the problem may be quickly uncovered if you have the right thinking-cap on (of which there are many). Working with two therapists has been a fantastic learning opportunity for me to observe and experience both similarities and differences between their approaches to practice. It has enabled me to find my own groove as a therapist and has been a great opportunity to solidify my areas of strength, work on areas that need to progress, and of course to learn all that I can!
This exposure has by no means given me the “magic recipe” or “how-to” for fixing every injury out there. Instead it has taught me how to use my interpretations, my knowledge, and current evidence to piece together a jigsaw puzzle of findings, observations, tests, and measures to create a treatment plan tailored to the individual I see in front of me.
Another significant take-home from my time at Prairie Trail was having a chance to work with and participate in mentoring sessions with experienced therapists who are committed to continuing education, not only for their own practice but also for the benefit of their colleagues. These sessions were an opportunity to share different ‘clinical pearls’, assessment and treatment techniques, to ask questions, and give feedback. These sessions have emphasized that the life of a physiotherapist is an occupation of life-long learning. There is also is no shortage of evidence and research to read up on, and countless courses and ways to continue learning, no matter the specific area of practice one is in. Seeing and experiencing this has shown me that I am nowhere near the finish line. It has shown me that the finish line is really the starting line! I am about the hit the pavement of the open road, and I am very excited to see where it takes me.