Student Placements: An Interview with Regan Daoust – Physical Therapist

Q: Tell us about your PT background and how you came to practice in the north.

A: I was raised in Prince George, B.C., and stayed here to complete my undergrad degree at UNBC before taking off to complete my Master’s in Physical Therapy at UBC. During the MPT program, I tried to get as many placements in Prince George or in the northern region as possible to gain a better understanding of my community and how I can learn and adapt to our strengths and challenges. My husband and I have established roots in Prince George, so it was an easy decision to return here to practice.

Q: What do you enjoy about working in a rural city?

A: There are so many things that I like about it! I enjoy the outdoors and exploring my surroundings. When you work in a northern community, you have a great work-life balance as the commute times are short, which leaves more time for adventures and self-care. Our physiotherapy community is ideal for information sharing, collaborating, general support, and networking.

Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of supervising students?

A: I started taking physiotherapy students in 2016, and have enjoyed and learned from every one of them. The most rewarding aspect for me is when they have that ‘ah-ha’ moment where all the pieces of their knowledge align, and they can fluidly work with their clients with confidence. Our clients may have barriers and challenges that impede follow through with recommendations to improve their outcome, so working through this with students and their clients is also rewarding for me so we can be the most impactful as physiotherapists.

Q: How can students support your clinic operations and the community?

A: Students have been an absolute asset to our clinic operations! They arrive with the most up to date evidence-based knowledge on programs, protocols, and guidelines. They are keen to research and find evidence for conditions that they don’t know about, which will also ultimately teach you something in the process. Having students study and gain their clinical skills in our community is vital for retaining physiotherapists in our region, and therefore improving the care of our residents.

Q: What are some challenges you have experienced when supervising students?

A: The pediatric clinical setting can feel like a different world sometimes, and it’s often the student’s first time working with children. At times it can be overwhelming when they first start because most of the therapy is play-based, and they have to learn to work with children, and they also have to work with their caregivers. The placements tend to go by quickly, and the students are generally just settling into their groove near the end.

Q: What has your experience been like working with the UBC Department of Physical Therapy? (how the department has supported the northern cohort)

A: Amazing! They are always supportive and there to help you if any issues arise at any time.