My name is Alana Nicholls, I am a fourth year Kinesiology student. Upon graduating, I am required to complete two placements within the field of work I am interested in pursuing. This year I had the honour of completing my last placement at the Neurological Rehabilitation Centre known as Aim2Walk. Words cannot describe all that I have learned, the amazing staff and patients I’ve met, and the opportunities I’ve been presented with during my time; however, I will try to do it justice.
During my interview with my current supervisor Michelle Teves, I was taken aback by all the futuristic equipment and the interdisciplinary team established within this clinic. I knew immediately that this is the place I wanted to work. As excited as I was for this amazing opportunity, I was over joyed when I found out I got to experience this journey alongside my best friend, Brittany.
Upon arriving my first day, I was flooded with a mixture of nerves, excitement, and eagerness. I was prepared to take all that I could from my time here. The first piece of equipment that caught my eye was the Lokomat. It was love at first sight! The Lokomat is the most advanced robotic technology used for gait training and neurological repatterning. Through repetition, this machine enables the brain to relearn complex motor skills required of a person to walk. Not only does this machine provide therapeutic benefits, like increased circulation and muscle activity, it also provides individuals with neurological conditions the chance to experience what it feels like to be up and walking again. What more could you ask for? During one of my first interactions with the Lokomat I assisted Michelle Teves on Bruno Deangelis’ gait training session. To help Bruno initiate leg movement in his weak leg, we practiced shoot outs with a soccer ball. Having the opportunity to see Bruno and his families reaction to his time on the Lokomat was emotionally overwhelming. It was amazing to know I played a role in his journey to recovery.
Everyday this amazing group of health care professionals make an incredible difference in peoples lives. Being a part of each patients success story is what makes all the hard work and thought put into each session rewarding. Working with this niche population requires passion, empathy, dedication, intelligence, creativity and charisma… Things that EVERY staff member encompasses and demonstrates. The knowledge base and hands on experience each member has provided me with, surpasses any further opportunities I will encounter in my future educational career. Working with a niche population like this, I have met patients that have forever changed my perspective on the world. I am more grateful and wise because of them. This opportunity has a hand in pushing me to pursue the career of a physiotherapist, so I can experience interactions like I have here everyday for the rest of my career. I truly hope that one day I can be practicing in a clinic with staff and patients as great as those I’ve come to know at Aim2Walk! I am so grateful to all the staff and patients for allowing me into their world for these past 11 weeks and changing my life as a prospective Physiotherapist. I cannot wait to see what else this clinic has in store for me.
Alana and her fellow classmate Brittany also made an exceptional video showing more about some of the technology used at Aim2Walk, including the Lokomat. Take a look at this video to learn more.