TRUDEL: Combine the physiotherapy profession you’ve chosen with the satisfaction and pride of serving your country. Then mix in great salary and benefits, a pension plan from Day One, state-of-the-art equipment and a clinical environment that treats clients as individuals, not numbers and you’ll find that becoming a Physiotherapy Officer in the Canadian Forces is the right move to make.
When I was going through school, it was, I always knew that I wanted to get into orthopedics and I wanted to get into more of a specialization in physio which is manual therapy, so to do that, you need to work with a fairly active population and when you look at the military, that’s all they do.
I’ve found working with military personnel to be much more fulfilling than I had initially expected. Our military population is exceptional to work with since patients are generally young and active and motivated to achieve optimal results. I’ve got more time with my patients, less pressure to move them through the system and a lot fewer worries about administration and billing issues.
We have full leeway on anything we want to do with our clients. Because of that, we’re able to spend more time with them, give quality care which when you’re in school, that’s the ideal, is to be able to give that quality care to your client and to be able to make sure that you’re doing everything that you can as a healthcare provider to get them back to their functional state.
FRANCIS: As a commissioned officer in the Regular Force, you’ll use your leadership skills to manage a clinic like this and you’ll have the time and the resources to focus on high-quality care and long-term effectiveness.
Or if you’re looking for a challenging and exciting part-time career to augment your existing civilian physiotherapy job, you may be interested in joining the Canadian Forces Health Services Reserves.
TRUDEL: The opportunities that are open to me, you don’t see in the civilian clinic. As an officer in the Canadian Forces, we’re leaders and we’re managers, as well as clinicians, so I was able to pretty much right out of school, I was put in charge of a clinic.
FRANCIS: So the main difference that I would say when I’m here is just the continual career development of working in one direction with my career, that I’m able to develop both as a clinician, as an administrator and as a leader in one employment where I’m not sure in a civilian clinic, that would always be the case, but in the military, it definitely is.
TRUDEL: By now, you’re probably wondering, How do I sign up? Many Physiotherapy Officers are already licensed physiotherapists working in civilian clinics when they join the Canadian Forces. This is what the Forces call Direct Entry.
TRUDEL: Your military training starts at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean, Quebec, with Basic Officer Training.
FRANCIS: Once you complete your basic training, you’ll be posted to a physiotherapy clinic located on a Canadian Forces base or wing where you’ll continue your professional development and training on the job.
TRUDEL: So our first few years out, we’re able to take a lot of our continuing education courses, our manual therapy, our acupuncture, some of our McKenzie back courses.
FRANCIS: It provides you with a great opportunity to enhance your clinical practice, to work with experienced therapists, equipment, to do your training. It gives you what you need when you first start in a career to really feel you have a base.
Early in your career, you’ll also spend six weeks on the Canadian Forces Physiotherapy Preceptorship course currently given at CFB Valcartier in Quebec. This course teaches you everything you need to know about being a physiotherapy officer in the Canadian Forces and prepares you for operational deployments with our soldiers overseas.
TRUDEL: I am a 100% satisfied with, with my decision and every day, the more, the more that I go through, the more confident I am that I made the right choice. When I initially joined, it was, I was thinking that I would just do my five years and then potentially get out and open up my own clinic and every day, the amount of time I want to stay in gets longer and longer and right now, I’m pretty much here for my entire career.