Graduates' Research Explores New Roles and Approaches

(From left to right: Stacey Miller, James Bardy, and Robyn Atkinson

Congratulations to the three Fall 2014 graduates, two from British Columbia, and one who completed her MRSc while living in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom (UK). The flexibility of the online MRSc enables learners to connect with one another at any time of the day, across different time zones, making it possible for these and future graduates to add study to work, family and other responsibilities.

The hallmark of MRSc studies is the strong link between learning, research and practice. Stacey and Robyn chose to focus their research on important issues related to new professional roles and practices, while James explored one potential role of technology when working with clients.

About the Graduates

Robyn Atkinson is a physiotherapist who is now taking time out of the workforce to enjoy her new role as parent. Beginning her MRSc as a kinesiologist, she intertwined MRSc and physiotherapy coursework in New Zealand, started her MRSc research while practising as a physiotherapist in Australia, and completed her research in the UK. Not surprisingly, she says the best part of her studies was:

”The flexibility of learning on-line allowing me to travel, live in different countries and start a family while studying.”

Like many learners, Robyn started her MRSc to develop skills to "support" her “practice with evidence-based research.” As a new physiotherapist she recognized that even though more new graduates were beginning their professional roles in private practice, there was little evidence about how were prepared and supported in such roles. This observation led to her workplace research project.

Read about Robyn's research: Novice Physiotherapists’ Preparedness for Private Practice or listen to her Research Relay Webinar from our 2014 Fall Series.

Occupational therapist James Bardy has his own community-based practice in Victoria, British Columbia. A desire to “keep updated current practice and philosophies in rehabilitation medicine” prompted James to start his MRSc. He most enjoyed “connecting with other professionals around Canada and the globe and collaborating on various projects.” When asked how the MRSc has made a difference for him and his career James says:

“I am more confident in researching, recommending and critiquing evidence-based treatment. My Master’s also surprisingly led to developing an App for survivors of TBI as well as work on a short film on TBI and technology.”

For his MRSc research, James was keen to explore how Apps might benefit people who experienced traumatic brain injury (TBI). In addition to the post-graduation film and App development activities, he has “been able to use the findings to explore using different apps for survivors of brain injury with clients, families and other therapists.”

Read about James’ research: Traumatic Brain Injury: Use of 'Apps' to Enhance Function in the Community

Stacey Miller is a physical therapist Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, B.C. A new position that required her to “develop a role within an existing clinic" led Stacey to start the MRSc. She describes her experience as follows:

"The assignments that were completed were relevant to my work place and, thus, were meaningful and engaging. The work produced clinically relevant materials that advanced my knowledge and added to satisfaction at work. Completion of the program has been personally and professionally satisfying. The program provided the opportunity to develop skills that will aid in attaining and succeeding in leadership positions."

Upon graduation Stacey had not been able to share her research results with colleagues as she was on maternity leave; however, she said, “…colleagues at work have been motivated and inspired by seeing that a meaningful research project can be completed that has the potential to influence practice and our professional role.”

Read about Stacey's research that explored the Concordance Between a Physical Therapist and a Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon for children referred to the surgeon with atypical lower extremity development, or listen to her archived Fall 2014 Research Relay Webinar