Clinical specialty area: Neurosciences
Years in specialty practice area: 24
Areas of professional interest: acquired brain injury; balance assessment and treatment
Hobbies: I am part of a “folkie” musical trio that performs at local open mic nights. Gardening and quilting also occupy some of my spare time. I am part of a tandem bike riding team that trains every summer for the MS bike ride for the Ottawa Chapter of the MS Society. Since 2009 we have raised $9,000 for MS.
What did you find most rewarding about the specialty program?
Participating in this program allowed me to meet some very amazing physiotherapists from across Canada. The process itself was very challenging and being successful at the end of it all gave me quite a sense of accomplishment.
What were your reasons for applying to the program?
I was encouraged by several colleagues to pursue this designation. I was interested in being an assessor for the program and in order to do that, I had to go through the process.
What is the value of the specialty program to candidates?
Candidates have the opportunity to reflect on how their career has evolved and how their clinical skills have developed. It is not just about the courses you have taken or the projects you have completed. It is about the lessons learned from your patients. Taking the time to really reflect on the broad range of influences and experiences that have made you the clinician you are today is an invaluable exercise to complete.
Have you used your specialist network and if so how?
Yes. I have consulted two other clinical specialists in neurosciences. We had met during the training sessions which were held for assessors of the program. I made a referral to a program offered by one who is in private practice in Toronto. She also made me aware of a treatment program for sensory retraining in stroke clients which we have started to use in my workplace. I meet regularly with another clinical specialist in neurosciences who works in private practice and resides in Ottawa. We meet occasionally to discuss a variety of topics primarily related to access to rehabilitation services in our community.
What new skills or enhanced skills did you obtain going through the specialty process?
Clinical reflection was not taught in my program in the early 1980’s. I had to find outside resources to help me complete this requirement for stage 1 of the application process.
What advice would you give to applicants going through the specialty process?
Take your time. Use your handbook and refer to the definitions of the competencies frequently.
Ensure that for each stage of the submission you have demonstrated each of the nine competencies. Be very explicit when you are writing your submission. The person reading your submission should not be expected to read between the lines. Showcase your achievements. Leave no room for interpretation. Reflect on your key experiences and how these influenced your development as a clinical specialist.
What impact has the specialization designation had on you and your career?
As someone who works in the public system, it is not clear what the impact of this designation has had on my career apart from having it on my business card or my email signature. Time will tell.
My graduation from the University of Toronto in 1983 was followed by two years working for the South Saskatchewan Health Centre in Regina. When I followed my husband to Ottawa I came to what was then The Royal Ottawa Regional Rehabilitation Centre for a four-month locum. Little did I know that the learning opportunities, variety of clinical experiences and supportive work environment would keep me engaged at the Centre for the past 30 years and counting. For the past 24 years I have been working in the area of neurosciences including clients with MS, stroke, GBS and ABI. I have had opportunities to participate in clinical research, on quality improvement teams and several different clinical teams within what is now The Ottawa Hospital Rehabilitation Centre. My proudest accomplishment has been the development and implementation of two exercise programs in collaboration with some community partners which operate out of several community centres in Ottawa. Currently I am a staff physiotherapist working on the Acquired Brain Injury Care Stream.