Compassionate Care Curriculum

Getting to Know 2018 AMS Phoenix Fellow Dr. Lucie Pelland

AMS would like to introduce our new 2018 Phoenix Fellow Dr. Lucie Pelland.  Dr. Pelland is an Associate Professor and Associate Director (Physical Therapy), School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen’s University. She shares her Phoenix Fellowship with Dr. Beata Batorowicz.


Why did you decide to become a healthcare professional?

My motivation to enter the field of rehabilitation was to develop creative ways to help individuals, and children and families in particular, to reach their goals. I drew inspiration from a workshop I attended during my undergraduate studies in physiology and physics on prosthetic design for children with amputations, being fascinated by advances in brain-behaviour interfaces. I was fortunate early on in my career to work in the fields of physical and sports medicine and mental health, during which I developed an appreciation for a caring approach to promote well-being as a fundamental component of the physiotherapy approach.

What was the catalyst for your interest in compassion in healthcare?

The stories of children and families forms a cornerstone of my teaching in pediatric physiotherapy at Queen’s. One of these stories was profoundly humbling. A mother came to speak to the class with her young daughter who was living with cerebral palsy. At the end of the presentation, I asked the mother if she had some advice to give to our students. Her ‘advice’ brought the class to tears.

She explained that early on in her daughter’s life, a physiotherapist had told her that if she worked hard enough with her daughter, her daughter would walk. As the years went by and her daughter did not walk, she felt the burden of guilt for having failed her daughter. The mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer 3 months prior to coming to our class, and with little time left, she told the class that her biggest regret was having believed that physiotherapist so many years ago and having wasted so much time providing her daughter with ‘home therapy’ rather than living her life with her daughter.

What inspired you to apply for a Fellowship?

I was introduced to the Phoenix Program by a Faculty member at the School of Medicine at Queen’s. She had obtained a Phoenix Fellowship which allowed her to develop her skills in narrative writing and research and has applied these skills to model a compassionate approach within our program. I was inspired by the possibility of making a positive change in healthcare for children and families in rural communities.

What one little thing could we do to make our healthcare system more compassionate?

Take the time to listen to children and families.

About the author

Dr. Beata Batorowicz & Dr. Lucie Pelland

The COPE Initiative: Creating Compassionate Communities of Healthcare in Pediatrics …

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