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Karen Nichol’s 2020 in Review

Well, where do I even begin in trying to summarize this past year? To me, 2020 has been a true rollercoaster ride of jaw dropping events and crazy emotions all while training to remain patient and hopeful. I will admit that never in a million years did I think that it would be a world pandemic that would force my business to close its door for 9 weeks. This was definitely not on my ‘potential risk factors’ list when opening Royal City Physio almost 8 years ago! I think it sure will be now for anyone considering opening a new business! For me however, this crisis came with many blessings that I am very grateful for. One was the gift of time. Of course the first few weeks after the clinic closed we were very busy with the hunt for the elusive PPE, setting up our virtual office, online physio sessions, and communicating all of these changes to our loyal patients via emails and ever changing website updates. But once I settled into my new routine as a ‘virtual physio,’ working only 2-3 days per week for 4-5 hours, I realized I suddenly had a lot of extra time. At first I found this free time stressful, giving me more time to worry about the future of my business and feeling like my hands were tied in being unable to work to save it. But after a while I just came to terms with the fact that my clinic would open when it was declared safe to do so and so I should just make the most of this time while I had it. With this time I was able to reach out to many friends, colleagues and family that I had maybe lost touch with or hadn’t been able to chat with as much as I would have liked over the last few years. I spent time exploring in my local neighbourhood of Port Moody, discovering cool hidden trails & hikes that I didn’t even know existed. I also enjoyed having the time to cook some great meals, enjoy some good books and do some much needed yoga! I can also not express in words how truly grateful I am for the support of our patients and this community. I always knew that we were hugely supported but I was brought to tears by some of the emails, texts and phone calls that I received during our closure from clients and local business owners reaching out to send their support and make sure that we were ok. This is something I will never forget and further clarified to me why I opened Royal City Physio. And then there is my team, my amazing and supportive team! I cannot imagine going through all of this without the resilient group I have around me. I believe that it is not until the going gets tough that you really get to know what people are made of, and this pandemic proved to me that this team is the real deal. Between us, we were able to figure out how to navigate through this unknown landscape of “how to run a business during a world pandemic” all while trying to stay optimistic about our future. Of course this required many daily group messages which included pictures of: dinner creations, Adele’s baking, pet adventures, Jayme’s newest sourdough loaf, local hiking trails or viewpoints, fitness challenges and of course some great memes! Big thank you to everyone on my team for all their hard work and loyalty and for keeping me laughing during some crazy days. On returning to work, we all did not know what to expect in terms of how many patients would be wanting to come in to see a physio in person. Well we were all very pleasantly surprised by the large waitlist of patients that were wanting to come in to see us! Due to the new restrictions; however, therapists were limited on how many patients they could see in a block of time, so instead everyone extended their hours to try to help out. May, June and July were very long and busy months at the clinic but we were all happy to be back to work and doing what we enjoyed most, helping our patients get better! I am also thrilled to report that with 2020 and our reopening came some new additions to our clinic including 2 new physiotherapists! Mikaela Barnes joined us in the summer, bringing with her an expertise in both clinical pilates and paediatric physio. As an extremely competitive marathon runner, Mikaela also really enjoys working with anyone who loves putting in some miles on their shoes, no matter what their goal may be. Our newest addition to the RCP therapist team is Jasmine Manders. Jasmine completed both her kinesiology degree and Masters in Physiotherapy at UBC while also playing on the varsity soccer team. In her spare time, Jasmine enjoys coaching soccer with the Vancouver Whitecaps and BC Soccer Provincial programs. Our team is also very excited to have Randy Celebrini join us as a clinical instructor. As a specialist in athletic movement and return to sport rehabilitation, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our team. For his debut, Randy ran a Monday morning workshop series with the team, which focused on how to bridge the gap between the clinical setting and returning an athlete to a competitive team environment. So although 2020 has been a year to both remember and forget I definitely choose to remember all those amazing little things that I may have previously taken for granted. Never in my life would I have dreamed that an event such as this could challenge me so much both personally and professionally. Sometimes I think that we all need to be challenged to realize how strong and resilient we actually are. I know that this team has definitely emerged stronger and more united as a result of this pandemic and for that I am grateful. Looking ahead to 2021, I am happy to be going into this new year exactly where I am with a great team and community around me, with only more exciting things to come. Karen Nichol, founder of Royal City Physio, graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy. She is currently the head physiotherapist for Coquitlam Adanac Sr A's and head physiotherapist for the Police Academy at The Justice Institute of B.C. She is also a member of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, and the Physiotherapy Association of B.C. Book with Karen today.


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