Kyle Nanan, Occupational Therapist and Regional Manager, WCB Services, shares how the diverse opportunities at CBI Health in the last ten years have been professionally and personally rewarding.


What is your role?

I'm a Regional Manager for Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) services across the province of Alberta. My role is split across funder relationship development, growing CBI Health's community occupational therapy reach, providing mentorship, and carrying a full caseload. The majority of our work as Occupational Therapists (OT) is community-based at our clinics, often visiting clients in their homes. It's an emerging area of practice and one I enjoy introducing to students and recent grads. We were fortunate that, despite the pandemic restrictions, home care services were deemed essential.


How does CBI Health support your career - and how will new team members benefit?

I've been lucky over the ten years as our senior leadership team has given me the autonomy to explore and provide a wide range of occupational therapy services, the chance to work with stakeholders, and an opportunity to introduce best practices to the teams I work with.

As a mentor, I want to open students and new grads up to the possibilities of community occupational therapy as a career choice. In school, the focus of occupational therapy is on a hospital-centric model. Here, we expose them to private practice and a wide range of cases based on the work we do with WCB.

At CBI Health, we see a wide range of diagnoses, post-surgical fractures, amputees, spinal cord injuries, and brain injuries. The work is incredibly diverse; you are never dealing with the same set of circumstances.


Can you tell me about a time when you made a significant impact on a client's life?

I worked with a client who had a spinal cord injury and wanted to play basketball. Through my vendor relationships, we were able to secure a specialized wheelchair for him to use. As someone passionate about basketball - I coach across every age group including post-secondary - I was excited to have a chance to test the chair and play on the court with him. Unfortunately, the pandemic restrictions put a halt to practices and the potential for competition.



What kind of injuries are you helping clients overcome?

The majority of my work revolves around clients suffering from spinal cord injuries. This is a result of championing our abilities and growing our partnership with WCB and one of the local hospitals. Once there is a hand-off from WCB, we essentially take on the remainder of their care and rehabilitation, working hand-in-hand with the nurses, mental health providers, and homecare.

People with spinal cord injuries have unique needs, and my role is to help them gain control of their life and ideally get back to work. This could include advising an employer on the necessary emergency exits, accessibility issues, specialized equipment or ergonomic setup, for customized workstations. In these cases, the client is able to regain a sense of purpose and greatly contributes to their overall quality of life.

Clients with spinal cord or brain injuries are individuals I work with long term, ensuring they achieve a high quality of life and have the skills and supports necessary to overcome challenges. This might include something vital but straightforward, such as gaining the strength to be discharged home for Christmas; or being more involved such as determining how to adapt their child care needs and finding volunteer or work opportunities.

Wound care with amputees is also an emerging and critical area of practice as it can be lifesaving, depending on the severity of the wound as well as its location. Anyone who has paralysis can become septic due to limited circulation and healing abilities. As health care practitioners, we need to be aware of how to treat them and act quickly if a dire situation occurs. Moreover, our ability to collaborate with nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and licensed practical nurses within our network allow us to achieve the best clinical outcomes.


What motivates and drives your work?

One of our stated values as an organization is to improve the health and enrich the lives of the clients we work with. I truly believe we are given a chance to do that every day. We are affecting change in the health of Canadians through our care, and as part of our company, you will have the opportunity to go above and beyond, knowing your work has a purpose.


If you want to expand your hands-on skills; grow into a leader, and work collaboratively to make a tangible impact on members of your community - this is a place you will thrive. If you want to be an influential voice in an industry that helps and heals, join us. We're hiring in clinics across Canada.

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