Physio Spotlight: Ahmad Qayyum
Of the many things the pandemic has shed a light on for us all, the importance of frontline workers has been one of the biggest. Doctors and nurses in particular have been noted for their invaluable healthcare work. Yet the unsung heroes that play an equally crucial role in the overarching public health care system are the physiotherapists. One such physiotherapist is Ahmad Qayyum, who has been a leader in the Alberta Health Services (AHS) for over four years now and has witnessed all the good physiotherapists do for improving hospital conditions for patients firsthand.
As a leader, Ahmad has seen physiotherapists like himself getting involved on an organizational level: “I see a lot of Physiotherapists in the leadership positions, which is great in terms of representation of the profession at that level. And then you get involved and participate in healthcare planning, which is very healthy for the profession and equally beneficial for the end users as well.” Having a seat at the table where strategies are being discussed and decisions are made, you get the opportunity to plan your services in alignment with other departments and that can reflect into overall improved efficiency and quality of care for the many patients accessing health facilities in these hectic times of COVID. “We started to focus on things that really helped us achieve the organizational goals. We turned into this mode where we were helping people get discharged early from the hospital, making sure we have enough bed count for people coming in.”
Managing things like overcapacity at the health facilities in the past two years of the pandemic has meant shifting priorities to change the inner workings of the healthcare system in the long run to adapt to both service demands and patients’ needs. “The bigger picture, when you look, you prevent more emergencies, unit admissions, and then you get to keep the bed occupancy low, which was a very dire need in those high times during the peaks of pandemic.” This big picture thinking has led to a revolution in the way frontline workers approach their jobs. “The pandemic has helped us to really make decisions well on our feet. Before the pandemic, it used to take some time to process. Now, you realize there are quicker ways of doing that.” Streamlining processes is simply one of the things Ahmad prioritizes and enjoys, himself.
Raising public and professional awareness toward the great work physiotherapists do within public health is key. “A lot of work has been done in terms of professional awareness, but I still see there is a void that we need to fill in, especially reaching out to the public. And I have been a big advocate of spreading this awareness.” Students and potential new physiotherapists also deserve to better understand the options open to them. “As a physiotherapist, you can decide either to go for greater breadth or for expertise in your area of practice. You can either choose to work in a hospital, where you can help patients to recover and return home quickly and safely, or you can work in a clinical setting where you can help people maximize their potential for recovery and help them achieve their goals.”
Working in a hospital setting has its advantages for new practitioners still catching their bearings. “The best thing about working in the public sector is that you have plenty of resources at your disposal, so that can really help you to build a strong and broad clinical foundation. You can get experience in a wide variety of clinical areas in hospitals, and you can enjoy the professional practice support that you get through the mentorship from experienced physiotherapists.” The continued addition of new physiotherapists to the public health sector means even more opportunities for future leaders in the profession to make their voices heard and create further lasting change.
Ahmad Qayyum has over 14 years of experience as a physiotherapist. Ahmad is providing Physiotherapy services in Canada and has been since 2014. He has worked in many areas of Alberta both in the public and private sector and he is currently settled in Airdrie.
Ahmad has worked closely with orthopedic and spinal surgeons to provide assessments, pre-op education, post-op assessment, treatment, follow-up reassessment, work hardening programs to return to community and work for complex spinal and other surgeries like joints replacement, sports injuries (ACL, meniscus, and cartilage reconstruction surgeries), Shoulder reconstruction and ankle injuries to allow patients a smooth recovery. Ahmad believes in empowering his patients and tailors’ programs to each patients’ unique needs. Ahmad has experience with leadership and management of programs the encompass multidisciplinary teams ensuring complete solutions are found for patients.