Connecting from Hong Kong, North Carolina and Vancouver
Spring 2012 Grads Make the Most of Distance Learning

Spring 2012 Grads

From left to right: Sabrina Li, Rebecca Shook and Sarah Strickey

Congratulations to this Spring's 2012 grads who are leading rehabilitation practice across the seas. The UBC Master of Rehabilitation Science (MRSc) continues to expand its reach with graduates coming and going from many parts of the world. It is becoming more frequent that learners may begin their master's in one part of the world but for a variety of reasons end up finishing it elsewhere. Sabrina Li was trained as an occupational therapist in Canada and completed her MRSc in Hong Kong. Sarah Strickey began her MRSc in Ottawa before her husband's graduate work took them to North Carolina, but she didn't miss a step due to the 100% online delivery approach of the program. Rebeccca Shook remained in Vancouver but never once needed to visit the UBC campus for a class. The power of these long distance relationships is illustrated by the valedictorian speech that they wrote. Visit the program blog for an inspiring read and to extend your congratulations.

About the Graduates

Sabrina Li works at the Hong Kong Housing Society as an occupational therapist. She notes that the best part of doing her master's was the course RHSC 507: Developing Effective Programs where she acquired the skills to both plan and implement rehabilitation programs, particularly working with different stakeholders and the importance of obtaining 'buy-in'. Although Sabrina feels that major project research was her biggest challenge she also credits it with a deeper understanding of conducting research studies.

"In my undergraduate studies, we mainly focused on quantitative studies. But from this degree, I’ve learnt the importance of qualitative data. For example, the users’ perspective about a treatment protocol is important because it can have a great impact on their treatment compliance."

Clearly her passion was enhanced as she continues to expand and develop rehabilitation services at her workplace.

Read about Sabrina's research: Hong Kong elders’ perspectives on “ageing-in-place” and community care services


Rebecca Shook is a physical therapist at Holy Family Hospital and Clinical Specialist in Acute Rehabilitation for Providence Health Care in Vancouver, B.C. She decided to do her master's to "feed my love of continuing education while upgrading and adding to my skill set."

For Rebecca, the best part was learning how to search out and evaluate evidence to inform and guide her practice in exciting new ways. The biggest challenge was incorporating the demands of the course work into her increasingly complex home life. While enrolled in the Master’s program, Rebecca had two children and moved homes. She says, "I learned (was forced) to be focused and scheduled!"

Rebecca's position has a large educational component, and she found that the Master's course work allowed her to maximize her effectiveness in this role. "It has greatly increased my confidence employing evidence based practice. Not only do I now understand the nomenclature, I can use the concepts to inform my practice."

Read about Rebecca's research: Patients’ and Caregivers’ Perceived Stroke Education Needs in Inpatient Rehabilitation


Sarah Strickey is a physiotherapist at Queensway Carleton Hospital in Ottawa Ontario. Like many of our learners and grads, Sarah balanced several roles. She describes her experience as follows:

"Through the course of this program I have experienced many life changes — most of them twice. I have moved twice, changed jobs twice, run two marathons and had two of my three children. This program has been my constant through all of these events.  It has allowed me to balance all aspects of my life while providing me with an invaluable way in which to stay current, grow as a professional and develop practical skills to apply to my clinical practice."

Sarah attributes her success to her research supervisor, Dr. Lesley Bainbridge, and her husband and children. Although Sarah is not quite sure where the promised free time has gone since finishing her studies she is looking forward to exploring the opportunities the MRSc degree will afford her.

Read about Sarah's research: Physiotherapists’ use of chronic disease self-management practices with patients in a hospital setting