Wednesday 24 March 2021

cOnnecT with Kendra Nimmo

Interview with Kendra Nimmo, recipient of the 2020 Dianna Mah-Jones Memorial Grant for Innovation. 

Why did you choose occupational therapy as a career?
I became aware of the OT profession while working at an Easter Seals summer camp. The camp had a partnership with the OT Master’s program, so I got to observe and work with the OT students and their preceptor. They were setting up visual schedules, running sensory integration groups, designing wheelchair accessible dorm rooms and practicing transfers with campers for an upcoming canoe trip. What was this creative yet practical profession that allowed people living with disabilities to reach their goals? Sign me up!

Congratulations on receiving a CAOT-BC grant! Tell us about how you have/will use this grant?
I am so grateful to receive the Dianna Mah-Jones grant. It allowed me to attend the “Wheelchair Seating and Positioning in the Community: Practical Applications” course put on by Access Community Therapists. I have been able to bring new seating and positioning knowledge and skills to the North and enhance my competence to deliver direct client care in remote first nations communities.

Where have you worked over your career? Where do you work now?
I started out my career in acute care in Vancouver after graduating in 2016. Two years ago, I made the move up to Smithers, a small mountain town in Northern BC. I am currently practicing as an occupational therapist in several remote First Nations communities in the area. I am privileged to work with children, adolescents, and elders of the Gitga’at, Gitxsan and Wet'suwet'en Nations and am excited to represent our profession in providing OT services with a barrier free, accessible, and culturally sensitive approach

What is your favourite thing about CAOT-BC?
While rewarding in so many ways, living and working in remote Northern BC communities comes with a unique set of challenges. Opportunities for networking and professional development can be difficult to access. CAOT-BC makes me feel connected to our profession and supported by the many educational opportunities that it offers.

Tell us about someone who has influenced you occupational therapy practice?
One of the people that has influenced my career as an OT is my friend and mentor Caitlyn DeBruyne. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Caitlyn, first as her student on placement in India, and now providing contract services through her company, Northern Therapy Services, to local indigenous communities. Caitlyn has shown me the importance of connecting with our clients and creating partnerships with them that are based on mutual respect, equality, sensitivity and trust.

What do you think will change or shape practice in the next five years?
I am excited to see that our profession is recognizing the importance of providing culturally safe occupational therapy services to Canada’s Indigenous, Metis and Inuit Communities. Our traditional models of health care are letting these communities down. I believe that we will see our practice methods shift over the next five years towards service models that are developed in collaboration with indigenous communities, that acknowledge the value of self-determination and culture, and encourage a holistic view of healthcare.

What do you do when you aren't working?
When not working, you can find me gardening, cooking, skiing in the local mountains or biking on the trails with my dog. 


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