News & Updates

André Prescott on the importance of building relationships with clients and his love of French press coffee

Over a virtual cup of coffee, we chatted with one of Arbutus’s newest physios about how he jumped from biochemistry to physio and why he’s passionate about building specialized care for his clients.

Why physio?

I’ve always been fascinated and interested in sciences! In high school, I loved chemistry and biology, so I chose biochemistry as my major while an undergrad at the University of Calgary, with the eventual goal of going to med school. As I went through my first year, I talked to a lot of friends who were pursuing similar career paths as well as some of my biochemistry professors, and I realized med school seemed less and less the route I wanted to take. I didn’t want to end up sitting behind a desk!

What I learned through that experience is that while cellular biology is pretty cool, I loved observing things from a macro scale, like how muscles function in the human body. That started me on my journey to kinesiology and then it was a natural progression to physio. 

I also have a great set of physios in my life because I’ve had my own injuries to work through. They’re one of the reasons I decided to switch career tracks! Something I learned from them is that physios generally get to spend more time with their patients. I wanted to be able to build that kind of relationship with clients.

A team shot of André Prescott's squash team inside a racquetball court.
André’s squash team.

Why is it important to have more time with your clients?

I get to know my clients on a deeper level, it’s not just quick care. Some days, we chat about tough things going on and it’s less about the physio. I love that we can make our time together what it needs to be. I’m finding that I love that interpersonal part of the job, it’s something unique to the profession (at least in my opinion!). 

A sunset over the Salish Sea, with cedar trees on the left and the Gulf Islands in the distance.

How do you decompress after a long day?

I used to be really into drawing and sketching, but less so in recent years as I’ve gotten busier. I’m hoping to pick it up again. Physical activity is my biggest outlet, for sure! For me, racquet sports are my go-to and squash is my racquet sport of choice. I grew up in a racquet sports family, they’re all tennis players so I had to do something different! I enjoy the fast pace of the game and that it involves some degree of technicality.

A black ink sketch by André Prescott.

How has it been settling in as a new physio?

I had a few experiences in student placements before this, where patients were more stressed about coming in and that came with its own stresses. My clients now are coming in because they want to get back to certain activities. Everyone I’ve worked with has been so wonderful, pleasant and nice! 

What’s your approach to treating your clients?

The biggest thing that resonated in school, that they kept referring to, was viewing treatment techniques as tools in a toolbox. What that really means is that every “tool” has a specific use, for a specific situation, for a specific person. There are many ways to accomplish the same goal, so it’s about finding the best way for that person.

A classic example I refer to a lot is the amount of pressure people respond to when I’m helping release muscles. For some people, if you don’t apply maximum pressure, they’ll leave feeling like you didn’t do anything. For others, that same pressure can increase their pain. Finding the right pressure is like finding the right tool for the job. 

There is never a dull moment when you’re working with people because they’re all so different. That’s what keeps it interesting!

Where do you go to for new research in physio?

One resource I use is DynaMed; we learned about it in physio school and I’ve been using it ever since. It’s a nice tool that summarizes recent research in physio.

But to be honest, my best resources are my colleagues at Arbutus and my peers from physio school. The folks I graduated with even started a group chat on Facebook to keep each other accountable and share knowledge. There are 101 of us, it’s chaotic at times!

Physio is so collaborative, it’s one of my favourite parts of the profession. People share notes or help each other with tough topics. There’s no ego! Everyone wants everyone else to succeed. 

Where are your favourite places to visit on the coast of BC?

I love the Gulf Islands! My partner and I just went to Salt Spring Island in November. It’s so much fun there.

I live close to Cook Street Village, so I bike or walk to the clinic most days.

André Prescott and his partner smile for the camera under a green oak tree.

You’re a coffee aficionado!

I loved coffee-flavoured anything, but I avoided coffee itself for many years until my second year of university. It was only a matter of time before I got hooked on actual coffee. I recently had to do a cull of my coffee-making collection, I had six different ways of making coffee!

I can’t say I’m as dedicated as some people can get, but I love a good cup of coffee. I’d say French press is my favourite. 

Favourite place to get coffee outside your home coffee bar?

My favourite place to go for coffee is Bear & Joey on Cook Street. It opened up a few years ago and the owner is Australian! I’ve heard stories that Australian coffee is legendary (but I might just be making it up!). It’s just a block away, so it’s our weekend guilty pleasure. I always get iced coffee, even through the winter.

A takeaway cup of coffee from Bear and Joey Cafe with a cute coffee sleeve around the cup, by André Prescott.

Tell us about your furry friends!

My partner and I are getting a Portuguese water dog in early summer. I’m excited! Our last family dog was a Portuguese water dog; I love their personality and how intelligent they are. I’ve always wanted my own, but with school, it wasn’t an option. It’ll be a little chaotic because we also have a six-month-old kitten, Pebbles. But, she’s so easygoing. Because she’s an indoor cat, I’m building her a “catio” so she can hang outside safely this summer.

André Prescott's grey cat, Pebbles, stretches out on her back on a grey blanket.