Catching up with Scott Holden, physiotherapist and sport enthusiast

We sat down with Scott Holden recently to talk about sports, being a physiotherapist, and exploring Vancouver Island.


You moved here last year, is that right?

Yeah, my fiance and I were in Halifax, and we just decided that we wanted to switch it up and see what the other side of the country had to offer. We love it here on the Island.

What’s keeping you busy in your personal life? Do you have techniques for creating healthy boundaries?

Since we moved we’ve spent a lot of time hiking. We try to get out to run or walk seven kilometres every morning before work – often at PKOLS. We’re also big car enthusiasts – we just got a convertible so we’ve been taking road trips up island and along the coast. Just putting the roof down and having fun.1

I’ve also started playing hockey with a team I got connected to through Sandy – Mike Neill plays on the team.

How do you balance that with your practice as a physiotherapist?

Since my partner is also a physiotherapist that’s been the hardest thing for us. We went to school together so initially we spent all of our time in class and studying. When we started working there was still a lot of overlap. In some ways it’s a seamless transition since we’re both in the field and so are most of our friends. It’s pretty great to be able to say “I saw this thing this week.”

At the same time it’s important to stop that, transition out and just put work to one side. It’s our career and our passion, but there’s more to our lives than that. So we try to limit it to a fifteen minute debrief period when we first get home. [laughs] Sometimes there’s something that is very stimulating and it can be hard to do.

We also spend an hour charting together in the morning. It’s really important to me to be ready for my patients. I want to know who’s coming in and have a treatment plan ready.

Victoria has some close-knit communities. How have you found building community since you moved? Have physio and sport helped?

Yes! That’s something we talked about when we first moved here, actually. In physio we strive to always have genuine conversations so that we can build relationships with our patients. That practice has also made it easy to create meaningful relationships with our colleagues. Outside of that, though, conversations sometimes felt more artificial at first when we were meeting new people.

My partner and I also spend a lot of time together, and having a large friend group feels less important right now. If I have two or three close friends that’s all I need – I’m happy.

With regards to sport, playing on the hockey team has definitely helped. There are some physios on the team, but there’s also, you know, some of my coworkers’ partners. That makes it more fun when people from work get together as well because I know people from different contexts.

Have you played other sports?

Hockey is the only sport I played this year. Last week we lost in the quarter finals for the playoffs, but we got closer than the team has for a couple of years!

I used to play soccer and volleyball, which are things I hope to get back into in the next year or two. The first year after we moved here, though, it was about setting up a career and a household. The social aspect is slowly starting to flourish now.

Physiotherapist, Scott in a black jacket, pants, and sunglasses standing in front of a wooden and metal mesh railing with a long wooden railroad bridge spanning into the distance behind him and a forest in the background.

What was it about Victoria that made you decide to move here?

At first we didn’t even know where we were going to move. We were living in Halifax, like I said, and we just kind of talked about it and wanted a change before settling down. We were also looking in North Vancouver, Revelstoke, and Squamish. But everyone was like “go to Victoria.”

Did you know you would be working at Arbutus?

I didn’t know I would be working at Arbutus. In Halifax if you want to work in a private practice downtown that takes a couple of years. If you’re only a couple of years out it’s still, you know, maybe two days a week downtown and three days a week somewhere else.

The core values I wanted in a clinic were community, private treatment rooms, and the opportunity to work one-on-one with patients and build genuine relationships. It’s a business, but at the same time it should be about the patient first. I think that’s huge.

I had a good feeling about Arbutus. I met with Sandy for an informal conversation. She told me what she was looking for, and it seemed very natural. It was a really good connection. There was an opportunity for her to start taking me on, and so I just started off slow – building up my caseload.

What is your favourite thing about Arbutus?

Some clinics are bigger, and some are really small and niche. I feel like Arbutus is a dynamic mix. It’s also an excellent team – people are really open to bouncing ideas around, and it never feels like you’re inconveniencing anyone by asking for help. I think our teamwork and commitment to improving our skills is something we’re all really proud of.

And what about the role of Arbutus in the community?

I love how involved we are. We sponsor community sporting events and volunteer at races – like the Triathlon of Compassion, XTERRA Victoria, and SwimRun Victoria. Coming from the East Coast I’d never been to events like these.

Are there differences in how your clients engage with sport here on the west coast?

One thing I noticed instantly is that people on the West Coast have a drive to be out and moving at all ages. I do see a lot of athletes in my day-to-day practice, but that doesn’t only mean your elite level athletes or Marathon runners.

I just find that here people are really excited to get outside and be holistically healthy – people are really thinking about what they do, their mental health, and their fitness.

  1. CRD information about PKOLS. See also this UVic resource.
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