Physio Spotlight: Geoff Bostick
When Geoff Bostick wakes up in the morning, the first thing on his mind is his students. As Associate Teaching Professor at the University of Alberta, he plays a part in building the next generation of physiotherapists. “I'm just constantly thinking about what I can do to help [them] better learn the material that they're trying to learn.”
After more than 20 years in the profession, Geoff has plenty to offer. Namely, if you’re a new student, don’t be afraid to explore your options. In Geoff’s case, “I had this vision that I was going to open up a pediatric physiotherapy private practice.” As he attended physio school, he began to identify where he excelled most, coming to a surprising conclusion. “I learned that my initial premonition of what I would be when I grew up into a full-fledged physio was completely backwards.”
Part of this came from discovering the many options available within the profession beyond what the public has come to expect. Physiotherapy is “broader than sports. Physios are working in almost every environment, from schools, to ICUs, private clinics, and providing mobile services. Physios are working with people experiencing a variety of injury and illness including never before encountered conditions such as long COVID. So, while your initial vision may not be where your journey takes you, exploring the various paths open to you will help you find your area of passion within the profession.
Outside the classroom, Geoff’s current research is focused on findings the optimal way to deliver pain education to physical therapy trainees. Cycling between research and teaching throughout the year, the two corners of his work share something in common: taking the time to listen to people’s needs. Being attentive to students’ struggles and “helping to remove barriers” to make their learning experience easier is not dissimilar to his work with clients, where “hearing them and validating their experiences” plays a vital role in their road to recovery. After all, the recovery process is a collaborative effort––people are “experts in their own lives and their own skin” and physiotherapists are “there to support” and help them “navigate their recovery paths.”
It’s this empathy that drives the many “extremely dedicated, kind individuals who authentically want people to live the best possible life they can live” within the physiotherapy profession.
Geoff Bostick is currently an Associate Teaching Professor and has been with the University of Alberta Department of Physical Therapy for over 12 years. His teaching interests center around the assessment and management of pain. Geoff's research focuses on pain education of physical therapy students and the assessment of pain in marginalized people.