Fall 2011 Master of Rehabilitation Science Graduates Connect the Dots


Grads at convocation

All smiles at convocation for the November 2011 MRSc grads. From left to right: Delicia Jackson, Heather Burrett and Anne Leclerc. Missing were Marjorie Berry and Elaine Widgett.

The Master of Rehabilitation Science graduating class of November 2011 included occupational therapists and physical therapists from both Ontario and British Columbia. Unfortunately only three of the five graduates were able to attend convocation on Thursday, November 24th, but they were in touch, online of course, to help Heather Burrett prepare the joint valedictorian speech for the grad reception held the night before convocation. Their graduation theme, suggested by Heather, was inspired by the late Steve Jobs who explained that itís impossible to connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards, and have to trust that the dots will connect in the future. Heatherís speech can be heard on the MRSc blog and includes the gradsí thoughts on their future. As you read the gradís profiles below you will see that the dots have connected and created new pathways. These will strengthen and advance the field of rehabilitation in Ontario, BC, and internationally as the MRSc network continues to expand. On behalf of the faculty, major project supervisors, instructors and staff, congratulations and may the connections remain strong. All the best!

About the Graduates

Marjorie Berry works as a physiotherapy professional leader at BruyŤre Continuing Care in Ottawa, Ontario. She chose to do the masterís to assist her in acquiring the competencies for her present position. Although Marjorie wrote that she found the time required to complete each course was far beyond what she estimated she also noted that she appreciated and learned from the interaction among class members from various disciplines. Their contributions enriched her learning beyond the achievement of course objectives. It is no surprise that Marjorieís research focused on interprofessional learning opportunities. For Marjorie the MRSc confirmed that evidence-based practice was not only necessary for practice but very easy to implement. Because she found that research for each assignment was geared to her position and caseload, she was able to achieve school and work objectives concurrently.

Read about Marjorie's research: Physiotherapy Studentsí Response to an Interprofessional Learning Intervention


Heather Burrett is a Vancouver-based occupational therapist and occupational therapy site leader at St. Paulís Hospital, an acute care, downtown hospital where the fast pace never lets up. Her research explored occupational therapistsí perceptions of evidence-based decision making and professional identity in this busy environment. Heather wrote that she did her masterís to live her goal of lifelong learning. The best part was developing confidence to contribute to evidence-based practice and her leadership role; the challenge was balancing life priorities. Although life may be a little easier now that the dots have connected into the MRSc degree, one wonders what's next in her learning plan!

Read about Heather's research: Describing Occupational Therapy Practice in Acute Care: An Exploratory Study


Delicia Jacksonís physical therapy practice and role as Manager of Rehabilitation Services at Langley Lodge, in Langley, BC has been enhanced through her studies. She wrote that the best part was that is was an online degree. Delicia also enjoyed the interdisciplinary learning environment. Love for continuing education and concern for having to upgrade her credentials when she would have less time led her to pursue her masterís now rather than later. Her research has contributed to rehabilitation planning for long-term care residents that focuses on palliative, comfort-care and facilitating residentsí participation in the tasks most important to them.

Read about Delicia's research: Tasks Considered Important to Elderly People with COPD who Live in Residential Care 


Anne Leclerc is a physical therapist who began her masterís program in 2006. She wrote that she was in quest of an academically-challenging program with practical workplace applications. Anne also believed that obtaining the degree would maximize her career advancement opportunities in the long-term. What she did not anticipate was a physical injury half way through her studies. Her recovery has been slower due to complications but Anne notes that the online format was flexible and enabled her to complete the program. She too enjoyed the interdisciplinary component of the program and meeting people Ďonlineí from all over Canada and elsewhere. She found the online discussions ďthought-provokingÖ and intellectually, the program was stimulating and rewarding.Ē Anneís research  explores moral distress in residential care physiotherapy practice.

Read about Anne's research: Exploring Moral Distress in Residential Care Physiotherapy Practice


Elaine Widgett is an occupational therapist and Program Services Manager at the Toronto Rehabilitation Centre. She began the masterís program to improve her knowledge and skills, and in the end found that her confidence grew and attributes her studies in helping to achieve career goals in management. Elaine wrote that the online group work, across time zones was challenging and the best part was her research. She enjoyed meeting and interviewing the subjects who were occupational therapy students. Elaine was interested in what factors influence students to work in mental health post-graduation.

Read about Elaine's research: Recruitment of Occupational Therapy Students to Mental Health Practice