Christine Epp

Clinical specialty area: Women's Health

Years in specialty practice area: 14

Areas of professional interest: pelvic health

Hobbies: family activities, coaching volleyball

What did you find most rewarding about the specialty program?

The specialty program requires analysis of your knowledge and skill base as well as your strengths and weaknesses or areas for growth and then effective presentation of this information. This process of in depth review and self-evaluation was well timed at this point in my career and provided clarity on where I am currently and how I got here as well as pointing clearly to the areas that could benefit from ongoing development. It was also an honour and very rewarding to be a part of the inaugural group of Clinical Specialists recognized at the Saskatoon Congress in 2012.

What were your reasons for applying to the program?

I submitted my name to be considered when the request went out to find individuals interested in participating in this new process. The request was to learn to be an assessor in the program and it came at a time when I felt I had something to contribute and the time to do so. It was exciting to think about being a part of an important step forward for the profession.

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

Twenty-five years is a long time! I think there is incredible potential for us to continue to develop our skills outside of our traditionally understood scope. In the time I have been a physical therapist I have seen significant innovation and growth in our ability to interact within the health care system and the public. I expect and hope that we will continue to expand and grow to be able to fully use our unique skill set to benefit more people. I think that we, as a profession, hold the key to prevention becoming the most important piece of health care. We will always be needed to rehabilitate but when we can make the shift to equal focus on prevention we will have made another significant contribution.

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

The area of pelvic health specifically, and women's health generally, has seen tremendous growth in the last 10 years. Specialization will be able to assist in continuing to develop the understanding of the potential for improved pelvic health in a wide population of people. Clinical Specialists will continue to support and mentor our colleagues to develop a broader group of therapists who have skills and knowledge in pelvic health. To truly meet the needs of the population we serve we will continue to need more therapists with a passion for this work.

What is the value of the specialty program to candidates?

Personal and professional growth requires reflection and analysis and the specialty program will provide a variety of tools for this reflection and analysis with a focus on clinical reasoning. Successful candidates will benefit from having their clinical skills and abilities recognized in an exciting new program.

Have you used your specialist network and if so how?

It is helpful to be able to have a reference in other areas to be able to refer client's with specific needs in various parts of the country.

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

Candidates should consider the importance of clarity in their presentations as the evaluation process relies heavily on written documentation in the first stage and the evaluators can only evaluate what is presented.  

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

I improved in my ability to present myself in a way that clearly and confidently demonstrates my knowledge base and skill set.

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

Be confident and clear in your presentations to allow for the best evaluation of your submission.

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

I have gained recognition and had increased opportunities for speaking and teaching which expands my ability to provide accurate and appropriate education and support for the public, colleagues as well as in the interdisciplinary realm.

Biography

Christine is a physical therapist at Bourassa and Associates Rehabilitation Centre in Saskatoon. Prior to that she had an opportunity for general experience in a variety of areas at Saskatoon City Hospital. Her practice at Bourassa's has included a full range of manual therapy and orthopedic treatment as well as involvement in the functional rehabilitation programming. Since 2002 she has focused her clinical work in the area of pelvic health with a focus on assessment and treatment of women with prenatal and post-partum concerns, pelvic organ prolapse, urinary and fecal incontinence, voiding and evacuation dysfunction and pelvic pain.  At present, the majority of her clinical time is spent with this diverse, interesting and rewarding patient population. She also has a leadership role in the clinic with responsibilities for mentorship, staff development, communication and quality assurance.

Christine has participated in many learning opportunities to develop and enhance her knowledge base since graduation from the University of Saskatchewan in 1992. She was a part of the initiation of the Clinical Specialization Program and was a successful candidate, receiving the designation of Clinical Specialist in Women’s Health in 2012. Christine is Saskatchewan’s only designated Clinical Specialist and is proud to be one of the Clinical Specialists in Women’s Health in Canada. She also is an assessor in the Clinical Specialization Program.