City: Newmarket / Aurora
Sheela Zelmer exemplifies what it takes to make a great pelvic health physiotherapist. Her genuine interest in people, empathetic listening skills and her ability to engage people when she interacts with them are the first ingredients that go into making a great therapist. Excellent clinical reasoning skills and an ongoing passion to continually learn more round out the skill set of an excellent therapist. Sheela demonstrates all of these skills and has made an excellent addition to our teaching staff. Sheela, alongside Michelle Fraser has taken on the responsibility of teaching the non-internal course. She has also started to mentor newer pelvic health therapists, encouraging them and teaching them to further develop their skills. Pelvic Health Solutions is made richer by Sheela’s continuous contributions in the closed Facebook group, and the excitement that she takes to all of her responsibilities. Thank you Sheela for all that you do!
How long have you been practicing pelvic health physiotherapy?
I began practicing pelvic floor physiotherapy a little over 2 years ago. It sounds like such a short time when I type it out, but I have been working in orthopaedics for over 20 years and really, pelvic floor physiotherapy is orthopaedics, so this was a natural progression for me.
What lead you into the specialty of pelvic health?
It wasn’t just one thing, but a collaboration of many events that led me towards pelvic health. I was approaching my 20 year physiotherapy anniversary and really searching for “whats next” I wanted to create a niche for myself and I kept seeing articles online and in magazines about pelvic health. I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful peer mentor that I meet with regularly and she really encouraged me to take the plunge and sign up for the level 1 course.
What do you love most about your profession?
The people! I am such a people person. I absolutely love the fact that we get to interact with so many people during the day. I love hearing their stories and being part of their recovery process. Our clients share their ups and downs with us and it is a privilege to listen and to work with them to improve their health and wellness. I never want to forget that its about them: their story, their process, their recovery, their success. I am grateful to come alongside.
Favourite course/what course has changed your clinical practice the most?
There have been so many courses that have changed the way I practice, but I have to say Level 1. It was what started it all for me. I was so nervous about signing up (and all that would entail!) It took a lot of courage to take that first step, but Nelly and Carolyn really have created such a wonderful environment and made me feel so at ease. I was hooked after the first day!
The level 1 course really lays the ground work for a learning process that is more than just lecture and lab. This course changed the entire trajectory of my professional career. It opened the door to a whole new area of evidence based practice, education and collaboration. The colleagues that I met on that first course are people I now call friends. We are in this together!
What has been your most rewarding experience?
There have been so many! Every time a client shares a success story, whether big or small, I’m cheering along with them.
What advice would you provide to new physiotherapists getting started in pelvic health?
Establish a network. Sometimes it can feel like pelvic health is overwhelming, especially when you are starting out, so its important to connect with other pelvic floor physiotherapists. Join the Facebook group, share email addresses and learn from each other. Our profession is fantastic, and we have so much to offer, not just to our clients but to each other.