Lending a hand in exceptional education

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Lending a hand in exceptional education
Hand Therapy Fellowship Program adds superior skill to the world of rehabilitation

By Amanda Jackman

Progressive, prestigious and evidence-based are just a few words former fellows of the Hand Therapy Fellowship Program at the Roth McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Centre use to describe their experience at St. Joseph’s Hospital in London, Ontario.

The program was developed in 2011 to assist motivated occupational or physical therapists in developing the necessary skills to be proficient in providing hand therapy and rehabilitation.
Currently the fellowship program offers a comprehensive 600 hour hand and upper extremity rehabilitation fellowship designed for both entry level or experienced occupational or physical therapists. Emphasis is placed on learning anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, pathology, functional utilization of the upper extremity and research methodology.
Recently St. Joseph’s hosted the Annual Hand and Upper Limb Symposium where three former fellows returned and shared their thoughts on their experience within the fellowship program.
Chelsea Barker, was the program’s first fellow who now works in Philadelphia as a hand therapist. “During the program I was able to participate in clinical research rounds with plastic and orthopedic residents, observed surgeries presented research at conferences. I was exposed to many different types of injuries and saw new techniques and surgeries. My experience there was second-to-none.”
Currently a hand therapist in Kitchener, Kristen MacDonald, right, was a fellow two years ago and uses the skills and knowledge she gleaned from the program every day. “It was beyond what I had ever expected. The staff at St. Joseph’s were passionate, knowledgeable, and extremely supportive. The program encompassed so much that I use today.”
Laura Yurkowski currently lives in Winnipeg and works in outpatient hand therapy, reflected on her time in the program when she was a fellow in 2014. “My experience at St. Joseph’s included involvement in treatment and research. It was incredible watching the teams work together. They were always so helpful.”
Each fellow works in collaboration with plastic and orthopaedic surgery residents and priority is placed on hands-on clinical training.

Upon completion of the program fellows will have attained a wide range of skills including an in-depth knowledge base of the pathology involved in various upper extremity diagnoses, competence and expertise in completing upper extremity assessments and developing and implementing treatment plans among a variety of other skills.

Amanda Jackman is a Communications Consultant at St. Joseph’s Health Care London.