Institution: Suomen Terveystalo Oyj (a private clinic)

Years of experience in HT: 12 years

Main areas in HT you’ve been working in:

Wrist problems (both traumatic and non-traumatic, surgical and non-surgical), pain patients.

Main subjects that you’ve presented in a meeting?

Wrist: clinical evaluation and functional assessment, dynamic and functional stability.

Please, tell us more about you…

What was your first encounter with hand therapy?

During my basic PT studies I did two clinical replacements in a hand clinic / hand therapy settings, one in the Helsinki University Hospital hand surgery department and the other in a private hand therapy clinic in Sydney, Australia.

What is the most important training you’ve had and where was it? Could you tell us some anecdotes about that?

I can’t name a single training that would be clearly above others. Where and who I am right now professionally, skills and knowledge wise, is a sum of several different trainings I’ve taken throughout my career. The clinical replacement in Australia and my first job after graduation in a private hand clinic provided me the grounds for individual thinking in therapy, clinical reasoning skills and decision-making. I believe clinical reasoning and decision-making skills are essentially important to learn and develop. We can’t expect to have ready answers for all clinical phenomena and problems we face with our patients or to have set rules for all our therapy interventions, so we should work towards developing our knowledge and reasoning abilities. I’ve also learned a great deal from things other than hand therapy trainings and courses, e.g. manual therapy and neurosciences that have given me a wider perspective into therapy and into health care in general.

In your opinion which is the book you think a hand therapist needs to have near her bed?

Rehabilitation of the Hand and Upper Limb, edited by Skirven et al, is a very good and comprehensive work. To gain other perspectives in function, assessment and basic neuroscience related to pain I would also recommend these books: Kinesiology of the Musculoskeletal System by Donald Neumann, Movement System Impairment Syndromes by Shirley Sahrmann, Motor Control by Anne Shumway-Cook and Marjorie Woollacoot and Explain Pain by David Butler and Lorimer Moseley.

Which article do you think is the most essential for a hand therapist to read? What did you find in this article that you want to share?

I don’t think this is the most essential, I don’t know which would be, but I think this is a very good article. Brody LT. Effective therapeutic exercise prescription: The right exercise at the right dose. J Hand Ther. 2012; April-June:220-231. It brings out some of the individual varieties we should take into consideration when planning therapeutic exercise, and why not also when planning other interventions as well. As to underline the thought that we can’t treat everyone with the same rules and approaches, repetitions and intensities, etc. but instead we need to reason what approach and why might work the best when considering individual features of a patient.

Has your professional practice changed over the years? How did it use to be and how is it now?

My focus has shifted from the specific structural and functional approach and thinking into a more holistic, functional approach and thinking. I feel the biopsychosocial approach of healthcare is a very good direction to be heading towards. It has also been soothing to realize and learn that there are no absolute rules, rights & wrongs and definite solutions to fit all individuals, but that you can achieve the same goal through several paths. I have also become more forgiving with myself, acknowledging that I can’t change or affect everything in my patients. We are after all dealing with nature and biology as we treat other people and we can’t give way to the misperception that we control all things related to that.

In which projects are you involved in this moment?

Most of my time is spent in clinical work right now. I’m involved in the organizing and planning the scientific program of the next Scandinavian Hand Society congress that will be held in Finland in 2016. I’m a member of the board of the Finnish Society of Hand Therapy and through that hope to be able to develop hand therapy activities on a national level. A new challenge is, as a new member in the executive committee of the European Federation of Societies for Hand Therapy (EFSHT), to learn about the work in an international federation.

In your opinion which are the next highlights for HT in the coming years?

I wouldn’t know J I hope we continue to learn and share knowledge from and with other specialty areas in healthcare, and not get too stuck with any single trendy interventions that tend to arise every once in a while.

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