Tegan Vermey

Email: tegan@willowhealthcentre.com

Phone: 519 365 0122

 

Tegan is one of the most delightful, energetic and caring people that Pelvic Health Solutions has ever met. Tegan has strived throughout her career to provide physiotherapy to those in need.  She served as a Physiotherapist in Ghana, Africa, as well as in post-earthquake Haiti.  She is a recipient of the 2015 Association of Ontario Health Centres Health Equity Award. This award recognized her innovative efforts in creating Ontario’s first Volunteer-Run Physiotherapy Program in Guelph, Ontario, which offers free physiotherapy to those experiencing barriers to access.

 

Tegan is a highly sought after clinical educator for pelvic health.  She has been a clinical educator for Laurentian University’s Midwifery Program, McMaster University’s School of Rehabilitation Science, and the CAET Enterostomal Therapy Nursing Education Program (ETNEP).  Tegan jumped at the opportunity to volunteer her time further by participating in research with investigators through McMaster University who are exploring the important relationships between pelvic floor muscle dysfunction and low back pain.

 

Tegan is a hands-on type of person; one who brings enthusiasm and a can-do attitude to everything she does. It is easy to shine the spotlight on Tegan this month! Congratulations Tegan on a job well done! It will be exciting to watch your career develop even further as you continue to meet the needs of your community.

 

 

How long have you been practicing pelvic health physiotherapy?

I have been practicing pelvic health physiotherapy since 2012

 

What lead you into the specialty of pelvic health?

Like many others, I first became interested in pelvic health physiotherapy after the birth of my children. I would go for a run wearing black tights and long race shirts to hide my leakage. I remember feeling really embarrassed, because I was a physiotherapist, and physiotherapists shouldn’t pee themselves. Now I know that no one should pee themselves! I was absolutely blown away by my first pelvic health course with Carolyn, Nelly, and MJ. Their passion and expertise were incredibly inspirational, and forever changed the path of my career.

 

What do you love most about your profession?

I love all ‘The Firsts’. I feel so privileged to share such amazing moments with my patients. From the birth of a first child, to the first time of having pain-free sex, to the first time playing golf without a pad, to the first time going grocery shopping without rushing desperately to find a washroom. These are all fantastic, game-changing moments for the people who are experiencing them. Sharing these moments, I feel like I have the best job in the whole world.

 

Which course did you enjoy the most/what course has changed your clinical practice the most?

Learning about persistent pain has changed my practice enormously. Before taking the Level 3 course, I have to admit I felt drained by these patients. Why were they not getting better? Learning about persistent pain changed my attitudes towards people living with pain. It gave me deeper understanding and empathy, and gave me a whole new set of tools to empower people with. From deep breathing and physiological quieting to neurophysiology education and yoga, I now have powerful ways to help people see hope and potential when they had been stripped of both.

 

What has been your most rewarding experience?

I used to think being a physiotherapist meant telling people what was wrong with them, and how I was going to fix it for them. Now I believe that there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with them, their bodies are just really good at protecting themselves. I have also learned that there are so many things they can do to take their overprotective systems down a notch and start feeling better.   Through neurophysiology education, we get to learn their bodies are not broken. Their bodies are incredibly strong, clever, and resilient. And that’s a powerful message to be privileged to share.

 

What advice would you provide to new physiotherapists getting started in pelvic health?

“Please, get started!” Patients need you. Our profession needs you. When we treat low back patients, or SIJ patients, or hip patients, or even knee and thoracic spine patients, we are missing a huge piece if we are not assessing the pelvic floor and its role in supporting the whole body.

 

There are devastating consequences of living with pelvic floor dysfunction: Decreased self-esteem, decreased social activity, decreased sexual activity, and decreased physical activity. The risk of depression is doubled. As Pelvic Health Physiotherapists, we are in a powerful position to improve quality of life measures across the board. How lucky are we?!

 

I am so thankful to Nelly and Carolyn for sharing their passion, time, and talents with an entire generation of Pelvic Health Physiotherapists. We are standing on the shoulders of giants.