You may have noticed that Kirsten hasn’t been in the clinic as much these days. Currently, she’s in London, Ontario focussed on her continued physical therapy education.
In September, she started a clinical graduate studies program called the Advanced Health Care Practitioner - Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Program, offered by Western University (“The MClSc Program”). This program has a focus on manual therapy (hands on treatment , joint mobilization and manipulation), clinical reasoning, leadership, mentorship and a research component. There are three periods of residency where all the students centralize to Elborn College (the Physical Therapy Building) at Western University (London, ON), to further their manual skills under the supervision of some highly skilled physiotherapists. The first residency period was in September with a combination of online zoom lectures and then two weeks of in person teaching and a practical exam. The current residency period started with a few days of online lectures, an online MCQ exam on all of the things that had been learned from September, and Kirsten is currently half way through the in-person period that will finish with another practical exam. The last residency period will be in July, where there will be a research day for all the student groups to present their projects!
Between residency periods, there are weekly online lectures and discussions, readings (lots!) and group projects on a variety of topics – common conditions in each body area, treatment techniques, research methods, etc. There is a huge focus on “evidence informed practice”, which is integration of best research evidence with clinical expertise and patient values. This involves finding the most appropriate and well researched information and being able to combine that with patient care, in an effort to provide the best available outcomes for each individual patient.
She chose this MClSc program to focus on manual skills, which is an area she has been pursuing since starting to work as a physical therapist. The MClSc program also has a research component that Kirsten was interested in re-incorporating into her practice. She is currently working on a systematic review on Chronic Ankle Instability with a group of her classmates.
This program has also a chance to build a cross-country network of physio connections for the future. This year there are students from Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec!