June 30th, 2012 marks the end of the terms for two of our School Directors, Sandy Rennie in the School of Physiotherapy and Pat Sullivan in the School of Nursing. Sandy will be retiring from the University following administrative leave, and Pat will be continuing in Dalhousie at the School following her leave. The past five years have been a time of significant stresses and change, and both Directors have risen admirably to the challenges and left an enduring positive mark on their respective Schools. Please join me in thanking Sandy and Pat for their contributions to this University and in wishing them well in the future. I hope they will stay in touch.
Congratulations to Dr. Shaun Boe (School of Physiotherapy and Department of Psychiatry) who has been awarded the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Research Scholarship for New Career Scientists. Dr. Boe has been given this prestigious scholarship in recognition of his work in examining basic and clinical aspects of rehabilitation to optimize functional recovery post-stroke with mentor Gail Eskes (Department of Psychiatry).
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Research Scholarship is a salary award intended for applicants with a Masters and/or Doctorate degree and with credential(s) in a regulated accredited health discipline. The objective is to attract and foster cardiovascular or cerebrovascular investigators from a variety of health disciplines. Each application is considered to be a joint submission by the applicant and the identified mentor.
To learn more about this award, read the full story on the PT Matters blog.
The newly reinstated Dalhousie Health Sciences Students Association executive recently represented Dalhousie University at the National Health Sciences Students Association Conference held in Waterloo, Ontario. The conference provided the opportunity to hear inspirational and informative speakers, teach delegates how to sustain a council at their university, watch students from the host university perform emergency situation simulations (including a birthing, car fire, ice rescue and smoke inhalation), network with other delegates, and participate in a Health Care Team Challenge, among others. With regards to the Health Care Team Challenge, the students were given a brief overview of a patient case prior to attending the conference. At the conference, each team offered their prognosis of the case in a brief five-minute presentation. Once all teams had presented, the teams were provided with more information about the case and were then required to formulate a treatment plan for the patient. The Health Care Team Challenge was an excellent interprofessional learning experience. It gave students an opportunity to further understand the roles of various professions while learning how to collaborate to share knowledge and perspectives on patient care and communicate what they perceive as important in a respectful manner. The executive is currently developing a proposal to be able to host an internal Dalhousie Health Care Team Challenge in early 2013.
The School of Physiotherapy is the winner of the first annual Practice What You Preach Run/Walk! The crowd was wowed on Sunday by an impressive 50% participation rate from Physiotherapy’s First and Second Year classes as well as faculty. Thanks to Katherine Harman and Candice Stapleton who showed up and ran like champs to support the cause.
For winning this awesome event, the School will receive $1000 towards a healthy lifestyle initiative for the Health Professions end of campus!
The School of Physiotherapy recently, on October 25 and 26, welcomed Dr. Steven Wolf as part of their Distinguished Lecture Series. Dr. Wolf is Professor of Medicine and Rehabilitation Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. To read more about Dr. Wolf’s visit, read the full story on the PT Matters blog.
Congratulations to the following members of the School of Physiotherapy who were awarded honours at the Canadian Physiotherapy Association Annual Congress held this past July in Whistler, British Columbia:
- Dr. Marilyn MacKay-Lyons (Associate Professor) was awarded the Enid Graham Memorial Lectureship, which is the highest individual award bestowed upon a member of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association. Marilyn gave her address “The evolution of our profession” at the Congress.
- Barbara Kelly (Instructor), was awarded the Margaret Finley-Vatcher Award from the Pediatric Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association for her significant contributions to the Division and to the forthcoming Pediatric Specialization Program.
- Alison MacDonald (Adjunct Professor and physiotherapist at the Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre), was awarded the CPA Mentorship award for all her dedicated work with colleagues and students.
- Dr. Shawn Robins (Post-Doctoral Fellow) was awarded the Alun Morgan Memorial Award in Orthopaedic Physiotherapy from the Physiotherapy Foundation of Canada.
In January and February 2011, occupational therapy (OT) students partnered with physiotherapy (PT) students to participate in international global health fieldwork placements in Georgetown, Guyana and Moshi, Tanzania. Interprofessional global health placements encourage students to share both clinical and cultural experiences, students learn from and gain a new level of respect for each other as professionals as they navigate the many new experiences of international work. Meghan Barry (OT), Ashley Gorges (OT), Rebecca Long (PT) and Julie Woodroffe (PT) went to rehabilitation centres in Georgetown, Guyana and Haley Augustine (OT) and Doug Murray (PT) went to Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation Tanzania in Moshi, Tanzania. Students were partnered together to promote peer learning and collaboration, and were supervised by local therapists.
Organized by Heidi Lauckner (International Fieldwork Education Coordinator, OT), Gail Wainwright (Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education, PT) and the Program Manager at the Global Health Office, these interprofessional global health fieldwork placements were described by one student as “an invaluable experience I will carry and apply to my future practice for the rest of my career.” To learn more about the experiences of these students, read the May 2011 issue of the FHP News & Events Update.
Dr. Gail Dechman of the School of Physiotherapy, along with researchers from Capital Health, are working to help those with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) to lead more active, independent and fulfilling lives by encouraging them to exercise.
COPD causes fatigue and shortness of breath, but it has been proven that staying active improves energy levels and breathing. Dr. Dechman and her colleagues are learning more about how exercise helps COPD patients, and what the barriers to activity are, in their community based clinic at West End Mall. “We’re measuring our participants’ heart rate, oxygen saturation and speed as they complete ten activities that mimic household tasks, such as loading laundry into the dryer and putting groceries on shelves” Dr. Dechman says, “This will reveal what tasks are most difficult and why, so we can intervene in the most helpful ways.”
By Marilyn Smulders, Dal News
When he looks back, Phil Leadbeater says it was his good fortune not to have been accepted to med school.
Keen to become a doctor after working 18 years as an army medic, Mr. Leadbeater returned to high school as a mature student to catch up on the math and science credits he needed to do a science degree. But as it turns out, it was his application to Dalhousie’s School of Occupational Therapy that was successful.
“Someone at Dal said ‘yes’ to me and let me occupy one of the 36 seats and it changed my life,” says Mr.
Leadbeater, now an occupational therapist in private practice in Brighton, Ont.
“I think we forget what it means to us. We graduate and go off in our lives and we forget where we came from.”
Recently back at Dalhousie for his 15th anniversary class reunion, Mr. Leadbeater brought with him a painting he commissioned of the Forrest Building, where he attended his occupational therapy classes. The Forrest is also the Dal home for nursing and physiotherapy students.
Titled “Journey through the Forrest,” the painting shows the historic red brick building framed by the foliage of several tall trees. It was inspired by a poem, “Enchanted Forrest,” he wrote upon graduating that recounts the student’s journey to knowledge. “We stumbled over rough terrain/ we stubbed our toes/ we skinned our knees/ yet, at times/ we managed to stop/ and smell the roses along the way.”
He arranged to have the painting made into prints. They are being sold for $10 each with the proceeds going to an admission scholarship fund. The original painting now hangs in the Forrest Building.
“I guess I wanted the alumni to get more involved and remember this place that means so much to us,” he says.
Occupational therapy, Mr. Leadbeater continues, turns out to be perfect for him, “a doer,” who enjoys working hands-on with his clients. He is also a dedicated volunteer who was awarded a medal of honour, the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, for his humanitarian work.
“I recall being able to work with this man, a paraplegic. We had to transfer him from his wheelchair to the bathtub. He had me by the shirt, and I had him, and I went, ‘on the count of three, let’s do this,’” says Mr. Leadbeater. “We’re looking at each other, eye-to-eye, and I’m thinking, ‘wow, I love my job.’ I love the contact with clients, being able to help them.”
Courtesy of Dalnews http://dalnews.dal.ca/
By Sandy Rennie
The School of Physiotherapy commends the innovative recommendations provided by Dr. John Ross in his recent report, “The Patient Journey Through Emergency Care in Nova Scotia: A Prescription for New Medicine.” Dr. Ross is the 20-year veteran of emergency medicine who was tasked by the NDP government to examine the province’s emergency departments and make recommendations.
The report, released last Tuesday, speaks to themes that are currently taught to our physiotherapy students: collaboration, teamwork, community care, and alternative models of access to care that are found throughout the report.
Dr. Ross notes the crisis faced by Nova Scotia’s emergency care system is far more complex than simply a shortage of doctors and nurses, and that “a more rational approach to determining daily physician coverage and some innovation in scheduling other types of clinicians—whether nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, extended-role paramedics, social workers, mental health social specialists, physiotherapists, or others—would improve wait times and quality of care.” (Ross report, page 40)
Our students graduate as ‘generalists’ and have the collective assessment and treatment skills to be important members of the health care team in both emergency and primary health care settings. Emergency department patients who would be potential candidates for physiotherapy care include: individuals with chronic or acute pain due to musculoskeletal conditions; whiplash injuries; low back pain; ankle sprains; knee injuries; wrist, elbow and shoulder injuries; elderly patients with mobility or vestibular issues; and respiratory conditions. In addition to the musculoskeletal rehabilitation that physiotherapists are perhaps best known for, physiotherapists also have expertise in cardiovascular rehabilitation, stroke recovery, cancer care, diabetes care and education, obesity management in children and adults, and rehabilitation following major surgeries such as hip and knee replacements.
The physiotherapy program teaches students the skills needed to promote health promotion and wellness. Students are taught the knowledge, skills and attitudes to know that when physiotherapy is integrated into effective community care teams, seniors and individuals with chronic diseases receive the care that facilitates their ability to stay in their homes, stay independent, active and mobile, and help avoid ER visits. This is another critical component to relieving the stress on emergency departments, as found in Dr. Ross’s report.
A significant component of the physiotherapy program in the School of Physiotherapy is interprofessional education. The physiotherapy program works closely with other health care programs at Dalhousie University to ensure that their graduates have the education, clinical expertise, and case management skills to be effective team leaders and participants and can work collaboratively with other members of the health care team.
Sandy Rennie, PT, PhD, is an Associate Professor and Director of Dalhousie’s School of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Professions.