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The professional spotlight recognizes and features the talents of a clinician that has trained with Pelvic Health Solutions, and has excelled in their quest to become an excellent pelvic health clinician. Clinicians who have taken on a leadership role in their community, or in the larger pelvic health community will be featured in this section. They will share their journey in pelvic health and why they chose to pursue this field, along with their successes, challenges and some of their favourite courses.
Marie-Josée (MJ) Forget
City: North Bay
MJ Forget has a wealth of knowledge, clinical expertise and experience in Pelvic health. Being one of the original “dinosaurs” in pelvic health in Ontario, MJ has been a leader and innovator in pelvic health for almost two decades. Her experience, her teaching strength and her approachability make her a huge asset to Pelvic Health Solutions specifically, and the pelvic health community at large. Three cheers to her French Canadian heritage and her introduction of a very special commodity in our lives – Maple Whiskey!
How long have you been practicing pelvic health physiotherapy?
I did my first course with Dianna MacDonald in Alberta back in 1997, two years after graduating from the University of Ottawa in 1995 – so I’m coming up on 20 years of practicing pelvic health.
What lead you into the specialty of pelvic health?
I was exposed to pelvic health in my fourth year of physiotherapy. Two of my classmates had done a research project on incontinence. This was fascinating to me since we really had no lectures on women’s health issues in University. I was not aware that we played a role in pelvic health. I took my first course out of curiosity and have not looked back since!
What do you love most about your profession?
I love that we can choose to have quality time with our patients allowing us time to listen to their story. This has such an impact on their recovery and gives them hope. I love to educate, educate and educate – my patients, teaching with Pelvic Health Solutions and mentoring physiotherapists and medical students!
Which course did you enjoy the most/what course has changed your clinical practice the most?
It’s hard to pick just one course since all of them have provided me with such great clinical pearls. If I really had to pick then I would say all of my pain courses – Neil Pearson’s yoga course, Debbie Patterson’s pain course and Pelvic Health Solutions level 3 course. How I talk, how I touch, how I listen has completely evolved in the last 10 years of my practice. Addressing the nervous system was never even on my radar when I started in pelvic health.
What has been your most rewarding experience?
It really is the day-to-day experiences. Patients often come in to our offices upset, in pain for years and unsure as to why they need to come see a physiotherapist after already seeing so many other health professionals. My office staff will often approach me to tell me that the patient that I will be assessing seems on edge, worried or fearful. After the assessment, they leave with a smile, relaxed and hopeful. I always enjoy “I don’t know what you did with that patient MJ, but they were a completely different person after they saw you!” I am rewarded daily and for that I am grateful!
What advice would you provide to new physiotherapists getting started in pelvic health?
The same advice that I would give to any health professional! Take a breath. Leave your “baggage” at the door when you enter a room with a pelvic health patient. Be present. Make eye contact. Listen with intent. Let them talk and tell their story. Be empathic and acknowledge their pain, suffering, worries and fears. Do not judge. And, most of all – be kind and give them hope.