Nazila Ghorbani graduated from WCCMT in August 2015 and is the owner of Caring Hands Massage Therapy in New Westminster. She is here to share with us what her WCCMT experience was like. [Read more…]
Omer Karacay graduated from WCCMT in August 2015 and is currently working as a Registered Massage Therapist at Inlet Wellness Gallery in Port Moody. In addition, Omer recently joined the WCCMT faculty as a Teaching Assistant. He is here to share with us what his WCCMT experience was like. [Read more…]
Experience is the best teacher. That’s why WCCMT reaches out for stories from alumni who have graduated to become successful RMT’s. Learning about their Massage Therapy practice is an inspiration, and their advice is priceless. Linda “Koby” Blanchfield, who graduated from WCCMT in 1990, is an example of what dedication and a thirst for knowledge can accomplish.
When she attended school, the campus was located in East Vancouver, the heart of Chinatown at the time. Using public transit, it took her over an hour and 15 minutes one way to commute to school each day. Depending on the weather, it could have taken longer.
The long days were necessary for Koby, since WCCMT was the only Massage school in British Columbia at the time. Due to her growing family, she was unable to make the move to Ontario, and had to make due with the long hours of commute.
But, the hours spent transporting via bus were for a good cause. Koby originally pursued Massage Therapy for a very personal reason.
“I had a motor vehicle accident and physiotherapy, using electricity, was not helping,” Koby told us. “ A friend recommended Massage Therapy, which was then covered by the BC Medical Service Plan. It resolved my musculoskeletal issues. I was impressed, and thought that I would like to be able to help people, like my RMT helped me.”
Her experience left a lasting impression that seeped into her desire to help others through Massage. “It is a wonderful feeling to help folks on the path to wellness with hands on work and education,” she said. “It is gratifying to see the change in physical well being and this often leads to happier patients.”
Koby told us that the initial contact she makes with patients is usually by phone, a necessary step before they can book a treatment. Clients are sent information about some of the conditions they treat at the clinic, so they can work together to develop the treatment plan.
“None of the clients can book online, as the type of work we do must often be planned in advance. This involves collaboration, a great way to encourage adherence to treatment plans.”
When asked about advice for current and new students, Koby suggested to focus on the small things, like punctuality, giving 100% attention to the matter at hand and following through on any commitment made. These simple actions leave a lasting impact on patients and make them feel respected. She said the same applies for school and work, as it will have the same effect on colleagues and teachers.
Her final piece of advice is something that resonates deeply with the WCCMT spirit. Never stop learning – continued education builds a successful practice.
“Passing the Boards is only the start of entry to practice,” said Koby. “Continuing education should not be motivated by a point system, but rather by pursuit of the excellence we can bring to our practice. It never ends.”
Wise words from a valued WCCMT alumnus. Thank you Koby, for sharing your story with us!
Are you interested in a career as a Massage Therapist? Learn more about other students who found their path at WCCMT by checking out our blog and following us on Facebook and Twitter. Want to share your story? Contact Susy at [email protected]
Danielle St. Laurent graduated in April 2017 and is currently in the process of writing her Board Exams. Danielle has already had handful of job offers and has secured a post with a clinic who was specifically seeking WCCMT graduates to hire.
What made you decide to become an RMT?
I always knew I wanted to go into the healthcare field. Both my parents were paramedics which I’ve always admired, but knew that I didn’t have the stomach for. My Mom mentioned that I should consider becoming an RMT just after I graduated high school and from then on it was always in the back of my mind. It wasn’t until three years later when I heard a commercial for WCCMT on the radio that I knew that it was what I had to pursue!
What made WCCMT stand out to you when deciding which school to go to?
WCCMT has been around the longest and when I was doing my research and asked around it was very highly recommended. It was an easy decision! Even before I took a tour of the College I was sold!
What made you pick WCCMT in the end?
After meeting with Admissions and taking a tour of the school, I loved the atmosphere of the College and how everyone interacted with one another. I liked how the clinic was a part of the College and how small the class sizes are. It was really important to look at the end goal too, so finding out that WCCMT consistently has the highest board exam scores was very important to me.
How would you describe the atmosphere at WCCMT?
It has such a comfortable and home-y atmosphere which was nice as it eventually became my second home! Everyone knows everyone at the school no matter what term and everyone is really close and supportive of one another.
What resources did you find most helpful in order to succeed in our program?
The bio-prep course, that is available before the program starts, was a great resource. As someone who hadn’t taken biology since high school, three years prior, it was nice to get a refresher before starting the program. I also attended many grad tutorials offered by recent graduate of the program which were extremely useful. The instructors gave so many after school tutorials for us and in clinic. There was always extra help available! If ever we were confused about something it was easy to find help.
What do you think of the instructors at WCCMT?
They always put in so much extra time and effort. They are always around when you need them and always take the time to answer your questions. Even when it’s coffee or lunch break, and staying later after class, you could tell they were more than happy to stay and answer questions or give extra demos. It’s obvious that the instructors love what they are doing and are the best in their respective fields.
What was your favourite part of the clinic internship and why?
Outreaches were one of my favourite things about WCCMT. There is such a variety of them and in the last three terms we got to experience so much. The ones I went to were Friends for Life, UBC Sports, BC Women’s Hospital and GF Strong Centre. The instructors there made the experience great too. I can tell that they loved being there and teaching us as much as they possibly could. There were Inreaches as well like Pre-natal and the Multiple Sclerosis Inreach (these are just the ones I attended) and those were awesome as well. It was so cool each term to work with a different group of patients and different conditions each time and learn about how we could help people in so many ways.
Is there a specific clinic experience that stands out?
I had one patient at the Friends for Life outreach that really made a difference in my life. This particular person was so kind and soft spoken. They made small talk with me throughout the treatments and ultimately wanted to relax and I think they needed someone to talk to. I could tell they were just a genuinely nice person who would do anything for someone. They were terminally ill and every time I treated them they made me feel like I had made a difference in their life. At the end of the five weeks, they thanked me so much for my help and we went on with our lives. It made me realize that no matter what happens in life, there’s always a positive side. This new attitude has helped me overcome a lot of obstacles and each time I come upon one, I remember that patient and their positive take on life. Of course, things are going to be overwhelming but it’s worth it to remember the good things as well!
Did you feel prepared for the Board Exams?
Definitely! The Mock Board exams and the Board exam prep courses were such a big help in getting ready for the exam. It’s great that the school does so much to make sure we are ready!
What resources helped you feel more prepared?
The two mock board exams we took in Term 5 were so helpful. It was nice to have an idea of what the exam was going to be like. In clinic we had a couple tutorials that helped prep us as well. After grad, the board exam review classes led by our instructors were very helpful to keep us on track!
How soon after the Board exams did you find work?
I actually got a job before writing my board exams. I was scouted by a clinic because of a referral from the school.
Did you have a lot of employment options and did you feel as a WCCMT graduate employers were more interested in hiring you?
Definitely. The owner of the clinic I was hired at had contacted WCCMT directly and asked the administration to refer a student to them, so they were looking specifically for graduates of our school!
What was it like going to school in New Westminster?
Well, other than school, I spent all my time at the Starbucks next door with the rest of my classmates! Of course there was all the food options at the New West Skytrain station and along Columbia Street. The Columbia Street Sandwich Company across the street is where I ate breakfast at least once a week! The city recently developed The Pier Park down by the Fraser River so there is a great place only minutes away to go hang out and study in the warmer months.
Would you recommend WCCMT to your friends? Why?
Absolutely! It’s definitely the best college. It’s maintained a great reputation for almost 35 years and consistently has highest board exam scores out of all the schools.
What advice would you have for someone who is thinking of becoming and RMT?
Give it 110%. It’s a fantastic school and awesome career to get into. Give it your all because it will pay off!
What questions should people ask when considering a school?
Make sure you know what you want from school. For example I wanted the option of class sizes and a variety of outreaches in the clinical internship which WCCMT definitely offers. I also really liked that the clinic as well as all the resources you could need were right there in the school for us to use.
David Wolynec is a WCCMT graduate from 1995, back when WCCMT New West was WCCMT Vancouver. He currently practices in Kamloops with a strong focus on rehabilitation.
What originally sparked your interest in Registered Massage Therapy?
Way back when I was considering massage therapy, I saw that it was an up and coming profession in the medical world. It allowed alternative healing without medications. It also allowed diversity and specialized practice.
What do you enjoy the most about being an RMT?
I enjoy being a medical professional who works within the medical community and is an integral part of my patient’s rehab.
What brought you to decide to open your own practice and what lead up to that point?
I opened my own practice to build my rehab philosophies and work with other medical personnel. It allowed me to be relevant in the rehab community with having several practices while also providing me with financial stability
What drew your interest to your current areas of focus?
My focus in my practice was developed by my passion as an athlete and my understanding of the importance of having a good rehab team to be part of my success. I also developed my practice with interest from within my community and being part of the athletic community.
Can you explain your philosophy and what makes your practice unique?
My philosophy in my practice is to treat the whole patient and not just their symptoms. I strive for a wellness model which includes self-awareness in one’s own recovery.
What advice would you have for someone who would like to start their own practice and what advice would you have for someone considering becoming an RMT?
My advice to someone starting a new practice would be to find meaningful partnerships that will benefit the practice and the people in the practice. Being a sole owner is challenging as you wear all hats in the business, and that is not a very effective model and leads to many hours of work.
My advice to someone thinking of becoming an RMT would be to research the field and try massage therapy sessions to make sure it’s what you love. Be active in your health and wellness and be in good health yourself, as you will become an influential person to your patients.
Thanks to David for sharing his experiences with us! Want to share your story? Contact [email protected] to be featured in our blog. As always, WCCMT would love to see you on LinkedIn, our New Westminster Facebook Page so you can stay connected with our community.