2010 Spring Graduates Demonstrate Range of Research Needed in Rehabilitation

MSRc Grads Spring  2010
MRSc Spring 2010 Grads (left to right): Denise Sylvest, John Campbell, Nancy Littke, and Janice Duivestein

Each of these graduates researched questions unique to the practice context within which they work. John and Nancy tackled professional issues while Janice and Denise focused on improving direct practice provision. All of these provided results that will inform rehabilitation practice and ultimately improve patients'/clients' quality of life.

About the Graduates

John Campbell decided to do his master’s to enhance his skill set to perform more effectively in his current role as physiotherapy practice leader at Chilliwack General Hospital and to open doors for potential career advancement opportunities. Having graduated, John feels that he is seen as more credible and respected as a practice leader, and has a much better understanding of research and evidence-based practice. He also describes acquiring an important and broader perspective on topics and issues related to clinical practice. His research will help inform solutions to a frequent problem in Chilliwack that of recruiting and retaining health professionals.

John values the online friendships made over the past 4 and 1/2 years, and the sense of accomplishment and pride in completing the assignments and final research project.  His biggest challenge was finding the time to balance a full-time career and busy family life with the demands of school, the online discussions, and assignments. All of John’s family came to the grad reception and, along with John, they are looking forward to a more relaxed pace.

Read about John's research: Examining factors Related to Recruiting and Retaining Physiotherapists in a Small Community Hospital in British Columbia


Janice Duivestein is the Neuromotor Program Manager at Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children and a consulting therapist for Access Community Therapists. Janice chose to do a master’s to update and expand her knowledge and skills in a number of areas, and for her own personal growth and development. Just prior to completing her master’s, Janice has taken on a new administrative role that requires a knowledge base acquired through the courses she took for the MRSc. “I am not sure I would have considered this role prior to embarking on my master’s,” explained Janice.

Janice also felt it would enable her to become a better resource for her colleagues. True to her desire, her research evaluated and explored clinician perceptions of the effectiveness of the education and learning approach used at their respective agencies to support them in developing expertise in the assessment and management of pediatric feeding and swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) in B.C. pediatric agencies.

Despite the challenges of juggling work, family, personal time and school and learning that some things had to “give”, Janice is extremely appreciative of the incredible support and encouragement she received from family and colleagues. She valued connecting with other learners from a variety of different disciplines and work environments and gained confidence as her knowledge base increased. While studying Janice found herself re-experiencing the “joy of learning”.

Read about Janice's research: Pediatric Dysphagia: What is an effective education and learning model for clinicians?


Nancy Littke is the Clinical Team Lead in physical therapy and occupational therapy at Sturgeon Community Hospital, in St. Albert, Alberta. Completing her master’s degree was a long-standing vision, based on a strong belief in the importance of challenging herself professionally and personally, and in life-long learning. Through the process Nancy describes how her knowledge expanded in directions that she had not experienced before. She learned that one is never too old to embark on a challenging journey of learning and that she was capable of finishing a project of this size.

Although doing research had never been a goal, Nancy is very excited about the use of qualitative research in physiotherapy and how even a very small project can have very important results in a much larger arena than planned. Her research explored physiotherapists’ perceived differences between using Chart Stimulated Recall (CSR) as a self-administered tool and as a facilitated interview reflection on clinical practice.  

Nancy found research was one of the biggest challenges of the program. “I had to overcome my nerves about actually being a researcher, no matter how small the research project. Right until the paper was submitted I still had doubts but am happy to say I was able to overcome the challenge.”

Nancy’s long-term career goals have been to teach at the faculty level and/or lead her profession in some capacity. She feels that the Master of Rehabilitation Science puts her one step closer to attaining those aspirations. When the door opens, Nancy now feels equipped to step through it. 

Read about Nancy's research: Reflection on practice as part of continuing competence: Is a guided written process of reflection as useful to physical therapy clinicians as a peer-facilitated process?


Denise Sylvest is a physiotherapist at Castlegar Community Health Centre. She undertook her master’s as a personal challenge, for continuing professional competence, and to remain competitive in the workplace. She did not want to be excluded from a potential job because she did not hold a master’s degree.  

In a rural setting, Denise finds there are few opportunities for education or career advancement. At times, this isolation made completing the master’s one of her biggest challenges. Nevertheless, Denise found that the courses helped her to develop the up-to-date skills needed in today’s workplace, and gave her the confidence to meet future professional challenges. For her research, Denise developed and pilot tested an implementation evaluation of the Strategies and Actions for Independent Living (SAIL) program as carried out in the client’s home.

Read about Denise's research: Piloting an implementation evaluation of the SAIL falls prevention program