When Stephanie Mallard was in Grade 8 in Atikokan, a small northern Ontario town, she decided she wanted to be a physiotherapist. Inspired by her own personal experience with receiving physio treatment, she researched educational institutions, planned out her high school courses and got to work.
After completing her undergraduate degree at Western University in London, Ontario, she considered taking a year off to travel before pursuing her Masters in Physiotherapy. But after a chance encounter at a campus grad fair, she applied to the physio program at Robert Gordon University in Scotland and was accepted.
“It was always a goal of mine to travel and a goal to do physio, and I never thought I’d be able to put the two together,” she says. “It’s honestly something that I’m very proud of.”
During her two years of postgraduate study, Stephanie participated in clinical placements throughout Scotland, both in large hospitals and small clinics, where she gained hands-on experience in various settings. Her final placement in the fall of 2019 was here in Huntsville at ProActive Rehab.
“From day one, everyone at ProActive was welcoming and helpful. They pulled me in for learning opportunities, encouraged my questions and helped me prepare for my exams,” Stephanie says.
Upon completion of her placement, she continued working at ProActive as a physiotherapist assistant while undertaking the process of earning her Canadian qualifications, which involved submitting references, undergoing academic reviews and passing two separate exams.
Stephanie successfully took on the new role of physiotherapy resident in late 2020, which means she’s now able to assess and treat clients independently while under the supervision of an experienced therapist. Once she completes her final exam in June 2021, she will be a fully qualified independently practicing physiotherapist.
“We are really excited to be welcoming Stephanie back to ProActive in the role she was cut out for: physiotherapist!” says owner and physio Leslie Tempest. “Her energy and enthusiasm for her new role are highly evident and we are lucky to have her launching her career with us. She has a natural way with people and has proven her skills at relationship building, care, empathy and support. Her foundational skills are solid and she is very keen to learn more and grow her toolkit, which aligns with our mission at ProActive Rehab: to create a forward-thinking clinic on the leading edge of pain management and client care.”
Although starting her career in the middle of a pandemic has posed some challenges, it has also provided new opportunities. “As much as it’s been challenging to shift some visits to virtual appointments, I’m new and willing to learn and I think we can help our clients by making things more accessible,” she says. “One of the things that helps people most is the education we give them around pain and healing. Oftentimes it’s not our touch that gets them better, it’s the understanding, the learning, the exercises and the modifications to their lifestyle that make the biggest difference.”
Stephanie hopes to continue expanding her clientele, building relationships with clients and other practitioners and studying for her practical exam. She also plans to take courses to build her skillset, including concussion management, acupuncture and vestibular rehab, all of which are areas of focus at ProActive.
“This is something that I’ve wanted for so long, so I’m really happy to be working with the amazing team at ProActive and I’m really keen to start helping people feel confident and empowered—like they are able to direct their own health. It’s so rewarding that I finally get to do that here.”