Physio Spotlight: Colleen Kuntze
The optimal support of Albertans experiencing pain and loss of function requires a multidisciplinary approach, engaging healthcare professionals in a collaborative and supportive approach. Colleen Kuntze has always been interested in a role in healthcare but didn’t initially know what that might look like for her. After exploring different options, she decided to pursue a career in physiotherapy and she hasn’t looked back. Starting out as a newly trained physiotherapist can be daunting as well as exciting, with an abundance of opportunities for learning and establishing new connections. For Colleen, “the physiotherapy community as a whole is a collaborative and fun group to be a part of” and the mentorship and support from her colleagues were key factors in her growth as a clinician.
Colleen firmly believes in the importance of working closely in a multidisciplinary team, based on her experiences in collaborating across disciplines to optimally support patients. “As physiotherapists, we often develop strong therapeutic relationships with our patients as a product of the time we spend with them and the vulnerability they share with us.” She feels that physiotherapists are “well suited” to engage patients as active participants in their healthcare team and establish individualized and multidisciplinary treatment plans to help in achieving their goals.
Through her leadership roles, Colleen knows the importance of physiotherapists having a seat at the table when establishing care pathways, healthcare funding models and quality improvement initiatives. She is the Director of Clinical Operations at a multidisciplinary clinic in Calgary and is involved in healthcare transformation work through the Alberta Health Services Bone and Joint Strategic Clinical Network and the Alberta Bone and Joint Health Institute. Her involvement in these groups includes the development of evidence based clinical pathways for shoulder care in Alberta and a provincial data repository for bone and joint health outcomes.
“With new challenges facing our healthcare system including financial constraints and increasing demands and wait times for musculoskeletal care, it is important that as physiotherapists we continue to advocate for the important role we play as part of the solution.” Having a dedicated association for physiotherapy in Alberta is imperative in strengthening the representation of the profession on the local, provincial and national stages. Colleen regards physiotherapy, including “advanced practice roles”, as one of the key pieces to address the challenges our healthcare system faces to provide evidence-based and value-driven musculoskeletal care.
Colleen Kuntze is passionate about physiotherapy and getting her patients moving and returning to their everyday activities. She focuses on manual therapy and functional exercise to address non-optimal biomechanics, while ensuring a multidisciplinary treatment approach for her patients.
Colleen is actively involved in advancing provincial healthcare initiatives through the Alberta Health Services Bone and Joint Strategic Clinical Network as the co-lead of the Shoulder Assessment Project and member of the Musculoskeletal Transformation Committee.