UNBC opens new physio lab
Prince George Citizen
Regan Daoust got to show off the brand new physiotherapy lab at UNBC to her fellow UBC master of physical therapy students on Friday.
Daoust, a second-year student and part of the northern and rural pilot project, demonstrated how the lab will be used as a training tool for students who come to Prince George for their placements.
With a state-of-the-art video link to a group of students watching from UBC's Vancouver campus, Daoust provided patient Eira Olausen with some balance and range of motion exercises during the official unveiling of the facility.
A Prince George native and UNBC grad, Daoust finished her third of six five-week placements on Friday at Physionorth.
The first big influx of students coming to Prince George on placement will be in April when the 20 students enrolled in the first full northern and rural cohort reach that stage of their education. They'll be able to use the lab, which includes nine specialized treatment tables called plinths, to practice the skills they're learning during their apprenticeship with a local physiotherapist.
"We offer additional support and enhancement to that [hands on] learning," UBC co-ordinator of clinical education for the northern and rural cohort Robin Roots said.
The cost of the lab - which included planning, equipment and renovations to rooms at UNBC and UBC for video conferencing - reached $842,000.
"We know from the evidence from the Northern Medical Program as well as from the literature, that in order to have health care professionals stay in rural areas, we need to train them in rural areas," Roots said. "The idea behind this plinth lab was really to provide training for both students as well as practicing physiotherapists in the north."
Northern Health reports 11 current vacancies for physiotherapists, but local practitioner Terry Fedorkiw said that just scratches the surface. Once historically vacant positions with the health authority, plus those in private practice are factored in, the list of openings gets much longer.
Fedorkiw said she's also looking forward to taking of the professional development opportunities the facility will create.