Returning to academic study almost 25 years after receiving my UBC BSc (PT) was daunting at first but with my children making their way to University, the time seemed right. The UBC Masters of Rehabilitation Science (MRSc) online program appealed to me because it allowed me to start with the Graduate Certificate in Rehabilitation then carry on to a Master’s — it was a perfect fit for me. It has been an enlightening journey. Each step of the way provided the foundation necessary for me to successfully plan and execute my research study. The instructors and course objectives facilitated deeper thinking about how the subject matter of each course relates and applies to my practice setting. I feel that this integration of knowledge into practice is one the program’s greatest strengths.
Going through the research process step by step gave me confidence in how to approach future problems in my practice. Exploring practice problems was previously an overwhelming task of where to start, what to focus on, how to begin, and what to do. I now feel more confident managing this process by defining practice problems, developing a research question, searching the literature, determining theoretical framework and methodologies, considering ethics and developing a thorough plan. I learned that research takes comprehensive and painstaking planning, a good dose of patience, trust that the process will lead to a meaningful end, determination to get there and open mindedness to acknowledge my biases. Thorough work done at the beginning pays off in the end, allowing a project to unfold more seamlessly and completely – clearly a case of paying it forward.
A qualitative approach was the most appropriate to address my research question. Before my project, I had little knowledge of the process of qualitative inquiry, its interpretive nature, the systematic way the data is processed, or why this approach would be chosen. I learned so much about the process through the RHSC 583 – Qualitative Inquiry course. I have a newfound and deep respect for the researchers who undertake qualitative research.
Ultimately, I have come away with a deeper respect for the voices of those I seek to help. At the beginning of this journey, I remember realizing that I had a long way to go to be truly client-centered in my approach to practice. I have learned to be a deeper listener, reinforcing some of the things that I learned years ago in a Motivational Interviewing workshop. I have learned to become less prescriptive in my practice and more responsive to the needs and values of those who seek education and support for better cardiovascular risk factor management.
As I reflect back over the past couple of years on my MRSc journey, I realize how it has already helped me in my practice. I have written two grants for our cardiac rehabilitation program. Both have been successful in securing funding for the program. The first was an Interior Health Authority grant for a new “Enhanced self-management program for better cardiovascular health” which increased services to include one on one counseling for clients with dietician, pharmacist and/or social worker. This program has been running for over a year now and client feedback has been positive. The second grant was from a local community foundation and we were successful in funding a new ECG machine. It has been satisfying to see the success that we have had with these grants and I know that it has much to do with improvement in my writing and reasoning skills from my courses. My work in RHSC 581 – Writing to Enhance Practice also led to a publication in a local health magazine.
I have been astounded at the depth of learning and sharing that online programs can offer. The dialogue, collaboration and sharing with other learners from many health disciplines which was stimulated by the various learning activities during the coursework was unexpected and appreciated. The thoughts, insights, and knowledge shared by all I have interacted with fill me with deep respect for their contributions. The instructors have facilitated and supported learning in a most respectful, encouraging way. I have nothing but positive things to say about the process now. It has been a wonderful journey and made that way by all of the terrific people I have encountered along the way.
‘Change your Thinking, Change your View, Change Practice’ through the MRSc