Katherine Church - Physiotherapist

Having the privilege to help people return to doing the activities and sports that they love to do. I can’t imagine not being able to do those things.

Katherine Church


Health care professional who has knowledge of how the body works, and has specialized hands-on skills to assess, diagnose and treat people who are injured, ill, or disabled. The physiotherapist will also educate their patients about how the body works, and how they can prevent other injuries, and will teach the patient personalized exercises to help them regain their strength, function, movement and overall well-being.

What is a typical day like for you?

I am fortunate to be working in a hospital where I get to see a variety of patients, all with different injuries or disabilities. I typically spend my mornings seeing outpatients. I spend about 30min of one on one time with each person, assessing, diagnosing, and treating them. I can then help treat them by educating them, teaching them an exercise program, and using some hands-on techniques.

I then spend my afternoons seeing inpatients – the people who are staying in a hospital bed. I get to work as a team with the nurses, doctors, social worker, occupational therapist, and other health care professionals to come up with the best plan to help the patient get better. I can use hands-on techniques to help a patient breathe, or I can help them do exercise to gain some strength, and help them to start walking again after they have gotten weak.

What is the most enjoyable part of your job?

Having the privilege to help people return to doing the activities and sports that they love to do. I can’t imagine not being able to do those things.

What is the least enjoyable part of your job?

When I am pressed for time, and cannot give a patient the care that they need. The charting can also get tedious at times.

Explain the path you took to get to this job (education, internships, etc.).

In high school: bio, chem, physics, and math courses. I’m also really grateful I did a coop placement in high school; it confirmed that physiotherapy was something I really wanted to do, and made it much easier to study hard when I knew what I was working towards in the long run.

I had 6 more student placements while studying physiotherapy at the University of Ottawa, all in various settings (with surgical or stroke patients in hospital, in private clinics with injured athletes, in treatment centres for children with neurological disabilities). Since graduating, I continue to take courses over some weekends to learn new skills (about 1-2 per year).

Who or what was the greatest influence that set you on this path?

I injured my knee playing too much soccer in high school, and my coach said she would bench me if I didn’t go see a physio. I had no clue what physio was, but not wanting to stay benched for the rest of the season, I went. Once at the clinic, I found it really interesting and thought helping an athlete return to their sport quickly would be a really cool job…

What advice would you give others seeking a similar job?

1- Go check it out! Whether it’s doing a coop placement in high school, or going to volunteer in a clinic, go see if it’s something you’d like to do.

2- Don’t take no for an answer – it’s a competitive field to get in to, but if it’s something you want to do, go for it. It’s a wonderful feeling to love what you do, and this is definitely one of those jobs.

How does your job make a difference?

We get to help people go back to doing the things they love… ‘nough said.

How do you use science, math and technology in your job?

Us physios use mostly science and math – math and physics go a long way when we have to understand the forces that act in our joints and muscles to make us move certain ways, or to keep our balance when we walk, run, and jump. Chemistry and biology help us understand how different parts of the body heal from different injuries and illnesses. All of this helps us better diagnose our patients, and helps us choose how to best treat a patient so that they can heal as quickly as possible.

Is there one course you wish you had taken in high school but didn’t? Why?


What makes this job right for you?

I am a very active person, and am especially sad when I see others who can’t move like they’d want to. This job allows me to share my passion with those around me. I also really love not sitting at a desk all day!

What's the most bizarre or silliest thing you’ve ever done in this job?

Tying pillows around a young soccer goalie’s knee so that she could start practicing her dives and saves for the first time after injuring her knee in a car accident.

What activities do you like to do outside of work?

Move in any way, shape, or form, especially when it involves a snowboard, a kiteboard, or running. I LOVE to travel. I also love to play music and have a good laugh with my brothers.

You just won $10 million! What’s the first thing you’d do?

See the world, with a snowboard, a kiteboard, or at least some running shoes in tow.

CurioCity Careers

We hope you enjoyed learning about this great STEM career! The information in this career profile was provided by this individual especially for CurioCity. We hope it helped give you a sense of what this type of job is really like.

Let’s Talk Science is pleased to provide you with this information as you explore future career options. Many careers require a background in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Even jobs that don’t use specific STEM concepts on a day-to-day basis benefit from the skills gained through a study of STEM. People with a STEM background are very much in demand by employers across all career sectors. If you would like to learn about more careers that have a STEM connection, visit http://www.explorecuriocity.org/careers.

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