By Sharon Aschaiek
Special to the Toronto Sun
As a physiotherapist specializing in neurology at Bridgepoint Health in Toronto, Victoria Szwajcer treats patients with severe injuries and head trauma. Below, she discusses why she chose this profession, what she loves about it and why it's hard not to take work home with her.
Q: Why did you decide to become a physiotherapist?
A: I always thought I wanted to go into a career where I could help people, where I could work creatively with my hands, and I was really interested in learning about the human body. Physiotherapy is right for me because it allows me to incorporate all of those interests. There are also lots of opportunities for learning new skills. There's always more to learn in the area of neurology and the body, because there are still so many unknowns.
Q: What are the biggest challenges of working as a physiotherapist?
A: Since my area of work is in neuro rehab, I think the big challenge is not taking work home. There are a lot of sad cases and many cases where the patients have limitations, and you can't just heal them. A lot of times people don't get 100% better. You're also dealing with families in crisis, which can be sad and emotional. It's hard to not take that home and have a professional distance.
Q: What are the biggest rewards of your work?
A: The biggest rewards are the fruits of my everyday labour.
From day to day I can see people getting better and I feel like I'm really helping people.
I personally really like travelling and have taken advantage of the fact that I can take my skills with me to work abroad.
There are also a lot of areas people can grow -- you can teach, become affiliated with a university, start your own clinic or go into hospital management. You can also incorporate alternative health care into your practice. It's opening up a lot of doors to me.
Q: What attributes are needed to be successful at this job?
A: Intelligence, creativity, objectivity, compassion, being good with your hands, empathy and being scientific.
Q: What advice would you offer to aspiring physiotherapists?
A: I think that for someone going into the program or studying, it's a hard course, but once you finish and find your niche, the work really is worth it. I'm really passionate about the work that I do, and I don't know a lot of people in this profession who feel unfulfilled and unsatisfied.
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