Catherine Pilgrim, Physiotherapist at the Charles S. Curtis Memorial Hospital has been mentoring students from Dalhousie University for the past ten years. “I feed off their enthusiasm,” she says. Catherine thoroughly enjoys the opportunity to share her work experiences with students from across the country, and in return, she appreciates the opportunity to learn from them as well. “The students come with lots of new ideas and information,” she notes. “Mentoring keeps you current.”

In December 2009, Catherine was recognized for her commitment to physiotherapy students over the years, when she was chosen for the 2009 Dalhousie University School of Physiotherapy Clinical Education Award. She was nominated by the students who spent six weeks with her in 2009. They were impressed by the comfortable and rich learning environment she provided.

According to the students “Catherine was an exceptional mentor and surpassed any expectations that we had. She was the key component in making our first clinical placement successful. Catherine was very generous in accepting two students to help hone our developing physiotherapy skills. She was responsible for both inpatient and outpatient physiotherapy care and still found time to answer our questions, develop ways to enhance our learning experiences and include us when making team decisions with other ream members – all while maintaining a professional and positive attitude. Catherine was a model clinical instructor and always provided us with regular and timely feedback. She is an advocate for healthy living in all respects, as she is an active member of the community and participates in extracurricular activities. We believe that as physiotherapists, it is important to encourage others to practice healthy, active living and lead by example. Catherine exemplifies this as she gave up her own time and resources so that we could also get involved and participate in the community’s activities and events during our stay. We hope all our clinical placements are as valuable, educational and enjoyable as Catherine made ours in St. Anthony.”

Catherine is honored by both the students’ words and the award itself. She also notes that she is pleased to see the award go to a rural professional this year. “You don’t have to go to the big centres to have a varied and meaningful clinical placement,” she says. “It is really nice to see rural practice recognized.”