Bridging Certificate Program Internationally Educated Physiotherapist (IEPT) Learner
IEPTs come from a number of cultural backgrounds. Previous students in the program have come from either India, Philippines, Nigeria, South America or Eastern Europe. Practice experience varies widely. Some have practiced only in their home country while others have worked in several other countries on their journey to Canada. Some have many years of clinical experience and some immigrated to Canada immediately after finishing their training. Many have worked as PT Assistants or Health Care Aides (HCAs) in Canada. Many IEPTs were educated and have worked in a very different model of care than what they are used to in Canada; one where directed practice and the medical model of care are the norm. Typically the IEPTs require knowledge and skills in the areas of the biopsychosocial model of care, evidence informed practice, client-centered care, clinical reasoning, autonomous practice and inter-professional teamwork. Understanding the cultural and workforce expectations in Canada are crucial to their success.
Some students have not attempted any of the competency exams, some have attempted the Qualifying (written) exam, and some have attempted the clinical exam.
No matter where a student is in their journey to practice in Canada a bridging program has been shown to enhance their success.
Exhausting, but absolutely worth it: My AIEPB experience as a student
By Marjorie Landicho, Student
To be truthful, the Alberta Internationally Educated Physiotherapist Bridging program was mentally and physically exhausting at times. I had to work full-time and complete the program, plus study for exams. But was it worth it? Absolutely! This experience has changed my life completely for the better; it not only allowed me to gain knowledge about the Canadian Health-care System, but also immensely increased my knowledge and skills in physiotherapy.
One of the challenges of being an Internationally Educated Physiotherapist who wants to practice physiotherapy in Canada is the limitation of knowledge about the Canadian Health-care System and the nature of physiotherapy practice in Canada. As an IEPT, I was faced with the challenge of finding the best source of this knowledge.
Luckily enough, in May 2013, the University of Alberta launched the pilot program for the Alberta Internationally Educated Physiotherapist Bridging Program and I was fortunate to get in to the first group of students to do the Bridging Program.
From then on, my life has changed and my experience has been wonderful. At the start of the program, we were informed that time commitment and family support are factors that will need big considerations because we will definitely need it. It was so true—it took a different level of maturity, commitment and determination to go through the program.
My mentorship has been an excellent experience for me as well. It was integral in giving me confidence in my clinical skills. I really look up to my mentor, Christine, because I saw in her the kind of physiotherapist I want to be in the future—knowledgeable and skilled, but at the same time compassionate and humble.
I truly believe in the Alberta Internationally Educated Physiotherapist Bridging Program and I pray for its continued success. I believe that this program will provide every IEPT with the opportunity of fulfilling their dreams of becoming a successful physiotherapist in Canada. It gives us the ability to share their own experience and culture with the people we serve. I thank all the people that have made this program possible. Thank you for taking the initiative to share your knowledge and wisdom. Thanks for giving all IEPTs the chance to become a part of the Canadian Physiotherapy workforce!