The first time I was exposed to the rehab world was 3 years ago at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital. My Aunt is a therapist that used to work there and is now at the Royal Alex and I was fortunate enough to job shadow for a day. I did know a bit about physiotherapy and occupational therapy but had not seen what exactly it was all about. After that one day of job shadowing I loved what the therapist assistants did and knew that I wanted to be a part of it.
One of the main reasons why I chose this field of work was because you get to be part of someone’s progression to living a better life. Being an assistant, I feel as though we are one of the key tools in helping a patient reach their goal as we are carrying out a lot of the treatments that the therapist gives them. With this in mind, I began looking for programs that I could apply to and get started as soon as possible. I chose Medicine Hat College because of the fact that the atmosphere seemed extremely positive, the classes were small and the instructors really loved teaching about an area that you could tell they really loved. Being from Sherwood Park and never lived anywhere else being 6 hours away was quite the change at first but I quickly settled into a routine and met some awesome lifelong friends in my program. The program at Medicine Hat College is a joint diploma Occupational therapy assistant (OTA) and Physiotherapy assistant (PTA), which is 2 years and I am almost at the end just in the middle of my practicum for the semester!
My placement at Pivotal Physiotherapy has allowed me to further practice and build on my schooling and techniques such as the use of electrical devices, ultrasound, and therapeutic exercise as well as learn new skills like traction. I have seen a wide variety of conditions such as patients with cerebral palsy, fractures, knee and hip replacements. It has been amazing seeing how quickly they progress even within the 5 weeks that I’ve been here! In school we used the saying “maximizing the full potential of the patient” when it comes to our role as a rehabilitation worker, and working at Pivotal has really showed me just how true this saying is. Just the feedback we get from the patients when they say after a session that they feel like a whole new person, or you see them able to walk through the door without a cane proves how much we can maximize their potential and make a huge difference in their lives. I feel as though my placement here has helped me grow to be a better assistant and I am very thankful for the experience.