On June 18, the Quinte-St. Lawrence (QSL) District hosted a panel discussion on ‘Embracing uncertainty, overcoming challenges, and lessons learned’  for ‘soon-to-be graduates of the MScPT program at Queen’s University.

This event came about after a discussion with current students and representatives on the QSL District Leadership Team, Sarah Kelly and Josh Nickel, who shared that there was an appetite in their class for support on the transition from student to clinician. Given the uncertainty and significant transition that occurs when ending formal training and beginning practice as a clinician, we decided a panel discussion would be a good format to have an open and honest conversation on the topic.

Panelists included physiotherapists from diverse backgrounds and practice settings, including: Abey Bekele (Physiotherapist in Ethiopia and PhD student in Rehabilitation Science), Kyle Seagram (Physiotherapist at JD Physiotherapy), Olivia Manning (Physiotherapist at Providence Care Hospital and PhD candidate in Rehabilitation Science), Melissa Magtanong (Physiotherapist in Total Hip & Knee Clinic at Kingston Health Sciences Centre), Shannon Mulholland (Physiotherapist at Kaymar Rehabilitation), and Shelley Huffman (OPA Board Member, District Coordinator at Stroke Network of Southeastern Ontario, and current student in the Master of Science in Health Care Quality Program). The panel discussion was moderated by Kyle Vader (President of QSL District).

During the panel discussion, panelists spoke about their experiences transitioning from being a student to a clinician, challenges they have encountered and overcome in their careers thus far, strategies they have used to promote continuous professional development, before ending with advice that they would give to their younger selves. After the panel discussion ended, students had the chance to ask questions of the panelists, such as tips for when they are applying for positions as a new graduate and navigating work/life balance. Key points from the panel discussion on the transition from student to clinician included:

  • the value of collaboration with other physiotherapist and professionals in other healthcare disciplines,
  • the importance of finding meaningful work that aligns with your personal and professional values, and
  • the critical role the Ontario Physiotherapy Association has played for panelists in fostering connections and feeling as though you are part a community at large.

Given the positive feedback from panelists and students in attendance, the QSL District plans to make this panel discussion an annual event for graduating students! 

Written by Kyle Vader, District President, Quinte-St. Lawrence District
Images by Mo Khan, MScPT Student & Communications Officer, Quinte-St. Lawrence District