MPT Students in Kitimat, BC – a tribute to a great clinical placement, wonderful community, and beautiful city!

From left to right: Shenise Born, Stanley Hung, Carly Nicholson

Stanley Hung, MSc, MPT/PhD Student. Stanley received his MSc in 2014 under the supervision of Dr. Kristin Campbell. He is now enrolled in the combined MPT/PhD program. 

Clinical placements are always an exciting five weeks for MPT students. Learning to apply our classroom knowledge with valuable hands-on experiences is the cornerstone of the MPT Program. Not only do we have the opportunity to practice our clinical skills, we also have the unique opportunity to be in touch with the lives of the people we treat. This is especially true for our clinical placement in Kitimat, BC, where I, along with fellow classmates Shenise Born and Carly Nicholson, spent our fifth placement at Kitimat General Hospital and Health Centre (KGHCH).

The placement at KGHCH offers a diverse learning experience for MPT Students. We had the opportunity to see patients in both the in-patient ward setting and the outpatient physiotherapy services department. This allowed us to practice our acute medical and cardiorespiratory clinical skills we learned in early in the program, as well as the outpatient orthopedic skills we build throughout. This diversity has challenged us to sharpen both of these important skills sets, and to appreciate the valuable contributions of the physiotherapy profession to the continuum of patient-centred care within the healthcare system, which is especially important for Kitimat, BC.

Home to just over 8000 people, Kitimat is one of many rural cities in BC faced with the similar challenge of a shortage in physiotherapy services. As a result, physiotherapists are one of the primary healthcare providers for the people of Kitimat. In the short five weeks, not only did we gain a stronger appreciation for the breadth of services physiotherapy has to offer, I was very amazed by how close we, as interim students, came in touch with the local community, especially the First Nations community. Whether they were returning or new patients, we quickly learned how important it was for us to be there. We were not simply treating individuals; we were making a strong, noticeable impact on the community.

Not to mention – Kitimat is a beautiful city! Rich with snow-capped mountains, ocean water, trees, and all the greatness that the BC wilderness has to offer. The city itself also has a very welcoming vibe; nice people, great coffee and local restaurants, and, most importantly, short commutes!

Thank you Angela Pace for being a great preceptor and Rehabilitation Manager at KGHCH! Thank you to the rehabilitation team and hospital staff for welcoming us with open arms to the KGHCH family! And most of all, thank you to the people of Kitimat for a great clinical and personal experience. This was an eye-opening and empowering opportunity for young physiotherapists, one that we will take with us for the rest of our lives!