Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur was one of the Canadian National Luge Team’s physiotherapists, Lauren Vickery, who we caught up with to talk about what inspired her to pursue her career and where she sees herself in five years…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I assess, diagnose and develop treatment plans for a wide range of orthopaedic injuries. I use a multimodal treatment approach including education, manual therapy, exercise and dry needling. My patients have often described me as a joint and muscle mechanic.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I was exposed to the physiotherapy profession after sustaining a sports injury in high school. Inspired by how physiotherapists use their deep understanding of anatomy, I wanted to help patients manage pain and function optimally in their daily lives.
I started working at Copeman Healthcare because I believe in the concept of boutique physiotherapy where all appointments and interactions are focused, unhurried and one-on-one.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
I feel privileged to work in a profession where I get to see the direct impact of my work on patients’ everyday lives. It is truly rewarding to watch a patient walk again after knee surgery, get back to work after a year of chronic back pain, or see an athlete achieve a personal best after an injury.
The most challenging (and also most interesting) aspect is that no two patients or injuries are ever the same. There are certainly clear injury patterns to follow, but most often, individual nuances and personal histories need to be considered to develop the diagnosis and treatment plan. I liken my work to putting together a jigsaw puzzle – combining multiple pieces in the right way to understand the whole picture of health.
What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
When I realize as I’m educating a patient about the importance of consistent rehabilitation exercise is that it has been way too long since I’ve done my own. Practicing what you preach is paramount in any aspect of life, be it personal or professional.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
My long-term goal has always been to open my own clinic with other like-minded health professionals. Rehabilitation from an injury is a difficult process in itself. I want to cultivate a clinic environment where patients look forward to coming to physiotherapy because they are confident they will receive high quality, evidence-based care by a skilled therapist they know and trust.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
There are no quick fixes in rehabilitation, so the most challenging part of my work is ensuring my patients stay motivated. My strategy is to properly educate patients so they fully understand their injury, healing timelines and expected outcomes. I find that if patients are well-informed on their treatment plan and able to recognize improvements, they are more likely to commit to the work required to reach their goals.
What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
I think success is going to a job that you love every day and making a positive change in people’s lives. I place a larger value on having a sense of purpose in my work but money does offer freedom and security.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
In November 2014, I completed an Advanced Diploma in Manual and Manipulative Physiotherapy which requires a five year commitment to educational instruction, mentorship and examinations. Though it was a rigorous process, the best part was working towards this professional goal with two of my closest friends and colleagues. We spent countless hours studying and practicing manual techniques on each other, while managing full-time caseloads. Graduating was a major accomplishment and a success we could all share together.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Dedicate the time to finding a good mentor. I have been fortunate to work with my mentor, Rob Holmes, for the last five years. Rob has been instrumental in shaping my career and helping me develop manual therapy and clinical reasoning skills. I highly recommend that all young professionals find a mentor they trust, as Rob’s guidance has been crucial to my success.
Where is your favourite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
Chai lattes at Kawa Espresso Bar, happy hour at Anejo and dinner at Cilantro.
When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
Staying active keeps me energized and engaged! I love running, hiking, skating, playing soccer and I recently started practicing yoga. Living in Calgary makes it easy to get out to the mountains, even just for the day. I’ve been known to hit a dance floor from time to time and I will never pass up the opportunity to have patio drinks with friends.
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
Recently, I travelled to Germany as the physiotherapist for the Canadian National Luge Team. It was an unforgettable experience working with our Canadian athletes and coaches and allowed me to integrate all of my clinical skills into a new sport. There is a palpable energy for luge events in Germany, which made every race a memorable experience.
If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
Anything produced or remixed by Kygo!
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
Travelling the world blogging about food and wine.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I volunteer my time working with youth sports teams and support KidSport and Right to Play. Sports allow youth to remain active, meet friends and learn valuable life lessons. I strongly believe that every child should have access and opportunity to experience sport and play.
What to you is notable?
Being honest with yourself and accountable to others.
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