After a very effective 20 minute Skype call with my mentor, Travis, my action plan has been refined and has become more detailed and realistic. We discussed any areas of my proposal that needed clarification, and he was able to help point me in the right direction to get started on the next aspect of my project.
Seeing as this was the first time I directly talked to my mentor, we started with the usual introduction. I thanked him for volunteering his time to guide me through this experience, and we got to know each other a bit better. I found out that he actually took the Kinesiology course I was looking into at UBC, and was able to provide some insight into the class. Travis explained that the flexibility of the program was great, because there aren’t too many required courses to take when you are thinking of going into physiotherapy. This allows you to take other electives that don’t necessarily have to be part of the science field. For instance, if you were interested in becoming a private physiotherapist, you could take courses in the business field.
This lead into a discussion about the possibilities for working as a physiotherapist: working publicly or privately. Public physical therapists work in hospitals or other locations that need assistance with helping patients get back to their usual health. You work as an employee, and have shifts of around 4-8 hours. This is a completely different atmosphere from being self-employed. Private physical therapists have more freedom and independence when deciding how long they will work, and how their schedules will look. Travis says that he manages his own appointments and usually works with about 3-4 patients at a time, each with an individual treatment.
During our sessions, I will be able to shadow him as he helps his patients with exercises, or manual therapy. Due to legal complications, we both agreed to change my proposal slightly so that I wouldn’t be performing any hands on treatments to patients until my final rigorous test, where I will be bringing in a friend to assess. Leading up to then, I can work on simpler forms of manual therapy such as taping or assisted stretching.
Another modification to my proposal he suggested was to focus on 3-5 joints in total, rather than learning about the entire general introduction to physiotherapy. This is because it could be quite overwhelming, and he doesn’t think it would be as enjoyable for me as choosing certain body parts to focus on. He also mentioned that focusing on specific joints may be more beneficial for putting together my portfolio of learning since it will be difficult to get a broad understanding of everything within 16 weeks.
After clarifying those points, we were able to discuss exactly what the project would look like for the rest of the course. Travis and I would meet about once a month, and each session we would focus on either 1 or 2 joints depending on the complexity of the information. He also mentioned learning about the “subjective exam” physiotherapists go through with their patients, which includes finding about what is bothering them, how long it has been hurting, and if they have had any injuries in the past.
We also planned out what I could do before our first session. Travis suggested that I look into which joints I would be interested in learning about, and was extremely kind in agreeing to help prepare some resources that I could look into between the sessions. He thought it would be interesting in focusing on one muscular injury, one ligament injury, and one “oddball injury” such as something caused from overuse. I will be researching these for the next few days and will send them to him to receive feedback. I will also be continuing my research on the muscular and skeletal systems, and looking at some journals that I may find interesting.
Overall, I feel like this has been an amazing start to the project, and I am extremely lucky to have been directed to Travis. He always made sure I was on board with all the decisions that were being made, and he was interested in making this an enjoyable and worthwhile experience. I am excited to see how much I will learn by January, and I can’t wait to set up our first mentoring session!