Dear Queen's Supporter,
“I’m a person, not a pathology.”
These words belong to Jim, a person with leukemia who is in the final stages of his disease. The desire to help people is what draws our students to Queen’s. But once students start their course work and begin juggling a demanding schedule, it can be easy to forget that Rehabilitation Therapy, at its core, is about caring for people.
The Compassionate Care Forum helps our students reconnect with the human element of their work. Created by the Faculty of Health Science’s Office of Interprofessional Education and Practice (OIPEP), the forum consists of lively dialogue between our students and an expert panel – a family doctor, a spiritual care giver, and a student nurse – discussing the place compassionate care has in their practice.
But the centerpiece is A Story about Care, a film focusing on Jim and his wife, who is living with Huntington’s disease. In a very forthright fashion, Jim talks about his own illness and the way that the smallest indications of care – even something as simple as a nurse holding his hand during a tough procedure – can help.
A former teacher, Jim quotes poetry and emphasizes the importance of the word care when we speak of health care. Patients are so much more than their illnesses, so much more than problems that need to be solved.
If that were the only lesson our students took away from the Compassionate Care Forum, it would be enough. But the forum gives them more because it is not just students from Rehabilitation Therapy who participate, it is Medical and Nursing students as well. The Forum provides all students with an opportunity to learn with, fromand abouteach other.
As participant Megan Taylor, a second year OT student explains, “You go in with an idea of what a doctor and a nurse do, but this gives you a completely different perspective. Interacting with different professions opens your eyes to the challenges that they face.”
Our students have embraced this collaborative approach. As student Laura Stanley has learned, “Meeting with people from other faculties is a really important part of my future career. It makes for better patient care to be able to communicate with each other.”
Here at the School of Rehabilitation Therapy, we are educating a new generation of dynamic, compassionate therapists who know how to work with other health care professionals to put their patients first. But we can’t do it without you. Please join me today in adding your support to the Rehabilitation Therapy Student Experience Fund, where every gift creates opportunity.
Marcia Finlayson, Ph.D., OT Reg (Ont)
Director, School of Rehabilitation Therapy