Nancy Cho, BSc (Rehab) ’82, is the Physiotherapy Practice Lead – Professional Practice Allied Health at Vancouver Coastal Health and the 2018 alumni UBC Alumni Builder Award recipient. Learn more about Nancy in her Q&A below!
Describe what you do at your workplace in two or three sentences.
I provide professional practice leadership to 400 physiotherapists and rehab assistants at Vancouver Coastal health across the continuum of care: acute, rehab, community home health, mental health, and residential. Along with my team I ensure safe, competent physiotherapy services by mentoring front line staff and developing best practices in physical therapy. VCH covers geographically Richmond, Vancouver, North Shore, sea to sky corridor, sunshine coast, and the Bellas.
What led you to choose to study and practice physiotherapy?
Originally, I was looking to pursue a degree in pharmacy. When a friend introduced me to the rehab medicine program at UBC, I found it resonated with me. I was looking for a career that was people oriented and supported the well-being of people and rehab medicine was the perfect fit! I graduated with a combined degree in physiotherapy and occupational therapy and appreciate this dual education which I believe enriches my approach to provide the best possible client care.
What is the best professional advice you’ve received?
You will not succeed at all your challenges but always intently observe, listen, and learn from others – don’t sweat the small stuff.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken to date?
Taking a leap of faith, after finishing my MBA, I started looking for a job to use my new found skills and in 1994 changed jobs from VGH Physio Section Head in the Intensive Care Unit to a Clinical Practice Lead position for Physiotherapy in Vancouver Home Health, a role I held for 18 years.
What are the best aspects of your career?
Being a leader in my profession and having the opportunity to be a role model leading, teaching and mentoring others.
What are the most challenging aspects of your career?
Managing pessimism and building morale.
What is one question you’re often asked about your career?
“I’m in pain right here, can you fix me?”
And as a mentor, “how did you get to where you are now, can you help me”?
What advice would you give to current PT students?
Aim first to be a ‘well rounded’ physiotherapist, by consolidating a broad range of knowledge and skills in your first 1-2 years to allow you to keep all future options open, don’t specialize too soon.
Please name a few of your favourite hobbies and activities.
Travelling, gardening, hosting dinner parties, volunteering, hiking, long walks, and cycling.
Name something that is on your bucket list. Have you completed it?
Creating another alumni bursary for PT students (yes) + a trip to Galapagos Islands and Africa (soon!).
Today in healthcare it’s important to…
educate our patients, clients and residents, including their families to monitor, maintain, and improve their health status and quality of life.
Nancy Cho, BSc (Rehab) ’82
A summary… to date!
- UBC alumni activities for the past 36 yrs – rehab representative for alumni divisions, resource for Department of Physical Therapy fundraising, bursary development, reunions, etc.
- UBC Dept. of Physical Therapy clinical associate professor teaching and various committees throughout the years
- Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators for 27 years: as a Provincial member and then Chair of National Written Exam committee
- CPTBC (College of Physical Therapists of BC) for 36 yrs: Board member, chair of various committees (Communications, Finance, Quality assurance program, Registrant competency assessment, Patient Relations, Transfer of Function)
- BC Physiotherapy Leadership Council – chair for the past 8 yrs, member 25 yrs.
- Shaughnessy Heights United Church Council Chair for last 4 years and many other committees
- Vancouver Coastal Health – 36 years @ VGH – 12 yrs
- Vancouver Community Home Health x 18yrs
- Regional Professional practice x 6 yrs
- UBC 75th anniversary award (1992)
- PABC Leadership Award of Excellence (2009)
- CPA Leadership Division Award (2016)
- Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators Award of Distinction (2017)
- PABC Professional Contribution Award of Excellence (2017)
- alumni UBC Alumni Builder Award (2018/2019)