Sandra Squire - Physiotherapist

Written by Evan Duxbury

While titles like “Physiotherapist” and “Researcher” are certainly accurate, Sandra Squire is best described as a lifelong learner.After graduating from the UBC Department of Physical Therapy, Sandra joined the team at St Paul’s Hospital in 1993 and has been learning ever since.

As a new grad, Sandra began her career in a rotation position, where she received hands-on experience in acute inpatient and outpatient, including rehab medicine and outpatient orthopedics. “It was a good chance to see all the different areas at St Paul’s and try my hand a teach of them.” She soon found her niche and specialized in outpatient orthopedics with a special interest in foot and ankle postoperative physiotherapy.

10 years later, the BC Bleeding Disorder Program (adult division) moved to St Paul’s. People with hemophilia can bleed into their joints and muscles, which, if not adequately treated, can lead to a very painful and debilitating chronic joint arthritis. The program needed a musculoskeletal expert to help prevent and treat bleeds, so Sandra seized the opportunity to establish the physiotherapy specialist position within the interdisciplinary comprehensive hemophilia care team.

When the program first came to St. Paul’s, my knowledge about hemophilia was limited. Now, I’m the Physiotherapist for the BC Bleeding Disorder Program providing treatment advice and recommendations for patients and physiotherapists across BC and the Yukon via email, phone calls and telehealth.”

Inevitably, as Sandra grew into her new role, more learning opportunities began to appear. The PHC Research Challenge is a program that supports point-of-care staff to conduct research projects in their practice settings. Sandra with members of the interdisciplinary team applied in 2012 to explore individualized treatment plans for people with severe hemophilia.

In my experience at PHC, nobody says ‘no’ to new ideas. Instead, the question is, ‘how can we make this work?’ So I've felt very supported and encouraged to explore.”

Having recently traveled to Melbourne for the World Federation of Hemophilia Conference to present the result of her study, Sandra is looking forward to continuing to expand on her clinical specialist role through research and clinical practice. At the same time, the opportunity and support she received during her research project has inspired her to go back to school and start her Masters of Rehabilitation Science at UBC. Her advice for new graduates reflects her lifelong learning approach:

Be open to opportunities because there are so many to explore. It is often through taking on a new area or experience that you will learn the most. And remember, it’s okay to ask for help, and that you are not expected to know everything.”

Cick here to see current therapy & rehab services opportunities at Providence Health Care