A recommendation from her father steered Nancy Jones towards physiotherapy. And his work with children was a passion that also continued with Nancy’s career.
Nancy has spent 21 of her 34 years in physiotherapy at GRH. She works with the hospital’s youngest patients, providing her skills and support in GRH’s children’s programs and with the neonatal intensive care unit.
It’s a constantly-evolving field, and Nancy says she’s privileged to be part of it.
What drew you to physiotherapy?
Initially, my interest in becoming a physiotherapist was sparked by my father, who had a successful children’s ministry. He stated that, “If I had to do it over again, I would become a physiotherapist.” I had the opportunity straight out of university to specialize in paediatrics or to take a more general adult oriented position. I chose to work in pediatrics from the beginning of my career and have never looked back.
What’s the best part of being a physiotherapist?
The best part of being a physiotherapist in Waterloo Region is working with vested parents that want what is best for their child. Every recommendation is followed through with and the impact is huge. Seeing the outcome as a physiotherapist is a special place to be. It is very rewarding.
What’s unique about the work you do with patients?
I work with the youngest patients of all at GRH. Many are preterm and almost all are under six months old. I love the challenge of assisting to create an environment where the neuro-development of an infant is nurtured in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and then, supported as the infant becomes cared for in the community.
Can you provide some examples of your work?
In the high tech environment of the NICU, this involves helping parents and the team protect the rapidly growing and fragile brain. We do that by protecting sleep, decreasing sound and light and by practicing developmental positioning and infant-driven oral feeding to support development.
If an infant experiences a specific musculo-skeletal challenge or their motor development requires support, I provide parents and staff with specific “exercises” to achieve the best possible outcome as early as possible.
Sometimes this is as basic as teaching a parent how to encourage their infant to lift her/his head/neck against gravity while being held skin to skin or by discussing tummy time for play in preparation for discharge.
What do you think people should know about the work of physiotherapists?
First of all, the work of each physiotherapist is unique and varied. Physiotherapists are life-long learners and in specialty roles, the professional is constantly researching, collaborating with team members from their own and other communities and advocating for those that we serve.
Why do you like being a physiotherapist at GRH?
It’s a privilege to be a physiotherapist in the children’s program at GRH at this time. Excellent quality care is the standard and I’m very excited to be a part of the team.