Teresa Gravelle

 

Clinical specialty area: Musculoskeletal

Years in specialty practice area: 26

Areas of professional interest: clinical reasoning; IMS; motor control and movement impairment leading to shoulder impingement and lower extremity injuries.

What did you find most rewarding about the specialty program?

The specialist program makes you examine all aspects of your professional practice and it was rewarding to learn more about how you are viewed by others in the profession.

What were your reasons for applying to the program?

I felt it was a good way to validate all the time and hard work that I have put in to my area of specialization and recognize the mentoring, teaching and clinical reasoning part of MSK/orthopaedics.

We are starting to see research driven by questions that specialist clinicians feel are important to study and I hope that continues to increase.

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

I hope to see more clinical practitioners working to obtain their specialization in the different areas of physiotherapy. We are starting to see research driven by questions that specialist clinicians feel are important to study and I hope that continues to increase.

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

I think it has been challenging to get the word out in the orthopaedics/MSK community as there are many avenues to be examined and show clinical excellence already in place in orthopaedics/MSK. To be a specialist, you need to have advanced clinical reasoning and reflection skills, as well as involvement in research, not just advanced knowledge. I hope to see more MSK physiotherapists recognize the added value of having the specialist designation.

What is the value of the specialty program to candidates?

The reflection aspect allows you to consolidate your learning, research, mentoring and teaching experiences. You can then think about what areas you need to improve in and where you are headed down the road. All of this will impact your patient’s experience.

Have you used your specialist network and if so how?

I have been able to refer patients from other provinces to clinical specialists in their neighbourhood. The CPA is organizing a forum where the specialists can ask each other questions and get advice.

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

Be aware of the nine behaviour indicators that need to be demonstrated in the program. You will need to demonstrate advanced clinical skills, knowledge, clinical reasoning and involvement in research and teaching/mentoring. You will also need to show innovation, communication, leadership and professional development. Many practitioners have different tools. The specialization process will not look at the tools that you have, but how you use those tools.

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

I think the importance of daily reflection on what I have seen challenges me to keep learning and improving.

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

Be prepared to put a lot of effort into preparing your submissions as the quality of your reflections/case submissions and how well they are written are important.

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

I have put more emphasis on clinical reasoning and reflection when I practice and teach. I am very fortunate to be an assessor with the specialization program. This has allowed me to collaborate with other specialists inside and outside my area of practice. I have also evaluated and learned so much from the submissions of many talented physiotherapists who have gone through the specialization process.

Biography

I graduated from McGill University in 1983. For the first eight years of my career, I worked in hospital settings in Ottawa, New Zealand and Australia. I worked in many different areas of physiotherapy such as neuro, burns, cardio-resp, post-surgical, orthopaedics and hand therapy. I have worked at the University of Ottawa Sports Medicine and Physiotherapy Clinic since 1992 and see active patients of all ages with varied MSK conditions. I taught a Sports Medicine elective at the University Of Ottawa, Physiotherapy Program from 1992 until 2000. I did my advanced exams in Manual Therapy in 1996 (part A) and 1997 (part B) to obtain my FCAMPT. I followed this with the acupuncture certification exam in 1998 (CAFCI), Gunn IMS certification in 2012 and SFMA parts 1& 2 in 2013. Since 1984, I have taken over 100 professional development courses in many areas of orthopaedics and I continue to mentor Physiotherapy Students from across Canada and the UK. 

I returned to school in 2007/08 to obtain my Clinical Masters in Manual and Manipulative Physiotherapy from Western University. I did my research on validating the Upper extremity Functional Index. I have been an instructor with the Orthopaedic Division of the CPA since 1997 and teach the Manual Therapy Courses in the level system. I currently live with my husband and two boys in Ottawa. I enjoy traveling, cycling, swimming, skating, walking, reading and spending time with my family.