Physio Month Profile: Shauna Gould
Submitted by Jenica Montgomery, communications coordinator, Communications & Public Affairs
In celebration of Physiotherapy Month, PHC News will be publishing Q&As with physiotherapists from across PHC. This week we interviewed Shauna Gould, physiotherapist with St. Paul’s Hospital Medicine 7D, advocate and volunteer.
Name, title, and background
My name is Shauna Gould, I’m a physiotherapist at St. Paul’s Hospital on Medicine 7D.
I decided when I was 14 that I wanted to be a physiotherapist. I was doing a school project looking at what career I wanted to follow and I chose physiotherapist - and I never changed my mind.
I initially thought I wanted to be a sport physiotherapist, but then I started volunteering in aquatic stroke rehab which is where I found my passion for working with people with neurological conditions and the geriatric population.
I did an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology and a Master’s degree in Physiotherapy at UBC where I graduated about two and a half years ago. I did a clinical placement at Holy Family Hospital which gave way to the position at St. Paul’s Hospital and I’ve been working here ever since.
What do you love about Physiotherapy?
I love working with people. I love being able to give people an improved quality of life, chatting with people about their lives, finding out what’s meaningful to them and then working with them to find mutual goals that allow them to do the activities they want to do in life. A strong passion of mine is advocating for people who don’t have someone to advocate for them.
Have you always been passionate about advocacy?
Yes, there a lot of healthcare workers in my family: my mother and sister are pediatric nurses, so I have always been drawn to professions that focus on helping people.
When I was in high school we had a program where you volunteered with fellow classmates who had developmental disabilities. It was a peer program supported by our physical education class where we would run programming for the adapted learning classes, which also peaked my interest in working with people with disabilities.
Why Providence Health Care?
At Providence, we really make an effort to help everyone regardless of their background and I think that’s really important. We have a strong network of allied health, nurses, and other professionals who advocate strongly for our patients.
It is also a really nice work environment – all the fellow physiotherapists are wonderful to work with. We have a lot of new grads who are eager to learn and some very experienced physios who are always offering advice, guidance and support so it is a really unified department. We have a lot of fun, but we are also some of the top in our profession in terms of knowledge, research, and patient-centred care. We are very dedicated to patient care and evidence-based practice.
Tell me about your volunteering experience.
I started volunteering 7 years ago with the Canadian Cancer Society’s Camp Goodtimes, which is a pediatric oncology camp. All the kids at the camp are really amazing – volunteering with them has become a part of who I am.
Part of what I do at camp is encouraging the kids to be confident in getting physically active – that is where I bring my physiotherapy background in. To see a kid at camp who had a stroke and then go out and play beach volleyball is pretty special. It is really rewarding to encourage the kids to be active and participate fully in activities that are important to them no matter what their physical barriers are. I think that is something that I have been trying to bring into Camp Good Times – we can provide adaptive recreation to everyone.
Do you find there’s a big connection between what you do at St. Paul’s Hospital and what you do at Camp?
I think they go hand in hand. The skills that I learned at camp have really come into play at PHC, and skills that I learned at PHC have really changed how I’m able to interact with the kids at camp. I think they both have helped shape who I am as a physiotherapist. I am more patient and understanding of my patients here, and I’m also more understanding of the kids and their cancer journeys.
What drew you to volunteering?
I started volunteering mostly because I needed hours to get into physiotherapy school, and then I fell in love with it. There’s something to be said about volunteering in the community that you can’t get anywhere else. It’s just something about giving your time to people who need it.
You always get ten times back what you give into it. I give a week of my vacation time to Camp Goodtimes every year, but I always get so much back out of it. I find it really recharges me for the full year. It gives me the energy, enthusiasm and the drive to make the world a better place.
What does patient and family centred care mean to you?
It is the root of everything we do. I find especially with physiotherapy that everything you do is coming from what the patient wants to do. My first question with patients is always: what do you want to be able to do? What is important for you to be able to do? That’s where we start our treatment from. We focus on what the patients themselves want to do and what the family wants to be able to do with their family member. The treatment and disposition planning comes from discussion with patients: what their goals and aspirations are, what activities are meaningful to them and what functional level they want to return to.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I want to thank PHC and the Physiotherapy department for being so supportive of my volunteer work and I want to thank them for giving me the opportunity to continue doing something that I love!
Thank you Shauna for taking the time to talk to us about your passion for advocacy and volunteering!
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