From Textbooks to Taping

photograph of a man and a woman having a conversation
by Asha Gami

From Textbooks to Taping: How My Four Weeks in Canada Changed My Perspective on Physiotherapy

When I first decided to enroll in a four-week physiotherapy program in Ottawa, I was brimming with both excitement and apprehension. Having spent years poring over medical textbooks and acing theoretical exams, I was acutely aware of a gap in my education: practical experience. I was proficient in the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of physiotherapy, but the ‘how’ eluded me.

What struck me immediately about the program was its focus on hands-on learning. Rather than just listening to lectures, we were encouraged to actively participate. We were doing, not just learning. This experiential approach culminated in my first sports taping session. Holding that tape, making precise movements to provide joint support—these actions brought a kind of clarity that no textbook could offer. I was not just learning about physiotherapy; I was practicing it.

The visits to Kanata North were equally eye-opening. It was an inspiring sight to see the extent of technological innovation and how it’s reshaping the healthcare sector. This visit wasn’t just a tour; it was a glimpse into my future workspace, sparking ideas and conversations on integrating technology into physiotherapy.

However, the most transformative part of the program was its real-life scenarios. We were assigned case studies, each mimicking actual challenges that professionals face. The hands-on experience of taping athletes, understanding movement mechanics, and seeing immediate results was indescribable. It’s one thing to read about ankle sprains, and another to tape an ankle and understand the immediate impact of your work.

Besides the technical skills, the program also offered something equally valuable: a sense of community. We interacted with Canadian students and professionals in the field. These relationships not only widened my professional network but also enriched me as a person. Conversations ranged from the future of physiotherapy to common challenges faced by healthcare professionals globally.

As I prepare to enter the workforce, I find myself reflecting on how my perspective has shifted over these four weeks. I’m no longer daunted by the transition from academic life to professional practice; instead, I feel prepared. And it’s not just the technical skills I’ve acquired—though those are invaluable—it’s the confidence that comes from real-world experience.

Physiotherapy for me has evolved from being a subject to becoming a calling. I’ve learned that the best way to understand a profession is to immerse yourself in it, and this four-week program has done just that for me. I now look forward to my first day at work, not with trepidation, but with a sense of purpose and readiness.