Back in March, one of our physiotherapists, Kirsten, provided us with an update on the graduate program that she began in September 2020: the Advanced Health Care Practitioner - Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Program offered by the University of Western Ontario. Now, at the completion of her program, Kirsten is back to tell us about what she learned and gained over the past year.
Well, it has been quite the year! Starting graduate studies in the middle of a pandemic was a big decision but since there weren't going to be many things happening, I thought I’d go for it. The program I took was called the Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Program in the Advanced Health Care Practice at Western University (or the CMP program, for short).
The initial draw to the CMP program was to improve manual (hands-on) therapy and treatment skills. I had been working my way through the manual therapy courses offered by the Orthopaedic Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) for a few years so I thought the CMP program would be a good way to further my education and expand my knowledge. One of the outcomes of the program was to become a CAMPT-certified physiotherapist and to achieve the FCAMPT designation, which stands for Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapists (https://manippt.org). This is an internationally recognized and highly regarded designation within the physiotherapy world.
I was also able to dip back into the research world with a systematic review about chronic ankle instability. My research group presented at the CMP research day and will hopefully be able to publish. Mentorship was also an important part of this program: we were encouraged to work with local mentors to practice our newly acquired manual skills and to practice clinical reasoning and to prepare for the big exams. I am incredibly grateful for how much my mentors helped me, and hope to be able to pay that forward.
Besides all the new things I learned this year, the best thing from the program were my classmates. We came from a variety of backgrounds and from across the country. It was a very challenging year, and I really could not have survived it without them.
Looking back, what I got out of the CMP program was way more than just the manual therapy skills. All of the students in the CMP program were physiotherapists, so we all had a certain amount of knowledge. As we went through our lectures, readings, and online discussions throughout the year, we were exposed to the most up-to-date and evidence-informed information for assessment and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. This was essential to allow me to become a more knowledgeable and effective physiotherapist and provide the best care for my patients.