Carol Kennedy

 

Clinical specialty area: Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy

Year of Graduation: 1979

Years in Specialty Practice Area: 39

Areas of professional interest: cervical spine; Orthopaedic Division Instructor; National Examiner/Chief Examiner

Hobbies: skiing, family

What did you find most rewarding about the specialty program?

There were a few things that stand out here. As we were the first group to be evaluated as specialists, but also as assessors for the program, it was rewarding to be part of this inaugural team. The meetings and discussions were rich, with representative across the broad scope of specialty practices and from across Canada. It was enlightening to see the similarities and differences between the groups. The process itself is was much more comprehensive than I was initially expecting, and it was more difficult than I thought it would be to present my career-long experiences as evidence for the specific dimensions. But the actual tabulation of all those experiences and self-reflection during the process helped me realize why it is that I still love my physiotherapy career 39 years post-graduation. 

I am impressed that we have embraced evidence-based practice, but always seem to remember that clinical expertise is still an important component of that.

What were your reasons for applying to the program?

Throughout my career I have been passionate about ongoing education, through reading, courses, teaching, examining… and although I felt I had achieved an advanced level of expertise in knowledge, reasoning and clinical skills by achieving FCAMPT status in 1983, I saw that the CPA Clinical Specialist designation was so much more. I was looking to prove competency in those other dimensions such as leadership, innovation, professional development, teaching & mentoring, communication and research.

Where do you hope to see the profession in 25 years?

In 25 years I hope to see the physiotherapy profession moving along the same track that it has over my 39 years in the profession. I am impressed that we have embraced evidence-based practice, but always seem to remember that clinical expertise is still an important component of that. I would like to see physiotherapists along with all health care professionals, more involved in prevention and health care promotion – we have so much to offer here.  

What impact do you think specialization will have on your specialty area?

I am hoping that specialization will allow all those who have excelled in their particular area of orthopaedics to gain recognition, other than just the sub-specialty of manual therapy. 

What is the value of the specialty program to candidates?

The specialty program allows the candidate the opportunity to collect and reflect on those professional experiences that have enabled them to become competent in the dimensions that are integral to being a specialist. Initially it may actually demonstrate to them areas that they are lacking in and might want to focus on in order to round out their clinical practice. 

Have you used your specialist network and if so how?

I actually am fairly well connected to the MSK Specialist already. But I have used my contacts in other specialty areas that I may not have linked with previously. 

What are important things to consider for those who are interested in pursuing their clinical specialty?

It is important for those who are considering embarking on this process to look across the many dimensions to ensure that they are able to provide evidence of competency in all dimensions. Then they must also be prepared to take the time to reflect on how their various professional experiences have allowed them to become competent in those areas. It is not sufficient to just supply a list of accomplishments, but to demonstrate how those accomplishments have molded their professional practice. 

What new skills or enhanced skills did you obtain going through the specialty process?

Perseverance; sticking to the process when things got a bit more difficult. Writing skills; how to get the maximum amount of information across concisely and in a way that best demonstrated the competencies being evaluated. 

What advice would you give to applicants going through the specialty process?

Look through the whole program before making that final decision, and if there are a few areas you feel you are weak in, find opportunities to increase your experience in those areas before starting the process. Give yourself enough time to not be rushed so that you can learn from the reflection process. 

What impact has the specialization designation had on you and your career?

I am proud to be one of the CPA’s first Clinical Specialists, and it has given me the confidence that what I have been accumulating in experience over my career has been meaningful to myself and others. 

Biography

I graduated from Queen’s University with a BScPT in 1979 and relocated to Winnipeg where my first position was in public practice at St. Boniface Hospital. I was very involved in sports physiotherapy, moved to a sport physiotherapy clinic and through that developed my love of orthopaedic physiotherapy. I travelled to BC to participate in the first 3-Month Manual Therapy Course, completing my Advanced Diploma in Manual and Manipulative Physiotherapy (‘Part B’) in 1983. I began instructing in the Orthopaedic Division Manual Therapy Course System and currently teach Level 3 Upper and Level 4/5 Spinal Manipulation Courses. I became an Examiner for that system in 1990 and a Chief Examiner in 1998. I taught the 4th Year Spinal Manual Therapy Course at UBC from 1997-2002. I am currently the Program Coordinator and Lead Instructor for the UBC post-professional Graduate Certificate in Orthopaedic Manipulative Physical Therapy (GCOMPT) housed within the MRSc Program.

Somewhere along the line, I focused on conditions of the cervical spine and have developed and teach several specialty courses on the cervical spine. At the 2010 Winter Olympics, I was asked to present at the Medical Symposium and chose the topic, Cervicogenic Contributions to Concussion-type Symptoms. 

I became an owner/partner at Treloar Physiotherapy Clinic in 1989 and continue in that role today.  My caseload is currently about 95% cervical spine patients. 

I returned to school at Western University to complete the MClSC (manipulative physiotherapy) in 2010.  Since that time I have been involved in several research and knowledge translation projects (Canadian C-spine Rule, Lateral Epicondylalgia Toolkit Taskforce, Achilles Tendinopathy Toolkit Evaluation Project, IMPACT-hip FAI Clinical Tests reliability & Validity studies). I have also published chapters in 2 textbooks (Therapeutic Exercise: Moving Toward Function &  Manual Therapy for Musculoskeletal Pain Syndromes of the Upper and Lower Quadrants: An Evidence and Clinical-Informed Approach) on exercises for mechanical neck pain, mechanical low back pain and the lower extremity.