All thanks to a broken fibula

Phil Sweeney has a broken fibula to thank for his career as a physiotherapist.

As a kid in New Zealand, Phil broke his leg while playing rugby. It took three months for his leg to heal, which included six weeks of physiotherapy. He recovered just in time for a rugby trip to Australia.

To a young Phil, physiotherapy seemed like a pretty neat thing to do.

“I wanted to help people and I enjoy the challenge of seeing a patient and trying to figure out what’s going on with their body, then trying to correct any issues and weaknesses,” says Phil, who became a physiotherapist 13 years ago.

Today, he’s a well-known face around Vancouver Coastal Health as Regional Physiotherapy Practice Coordinator for Vancouver General and UBC Hospitals. Phil is still as fascinated by the profession as he was in those early days, but there’s always room for improvement. That’s why he got involved with Clinical and Systems Transformation (CST) project as a subject matter expert.

“The idea of participating in the development of a shared clinical information system was quite appealing to me. On top of that, I have a strong belief in good practice for physiotherapy and I figured it was a good chance to get involved and help develop physiotherapy documentation.”

Phil says that CST will save staff time, letting him and his colleagues spend more time with their patients. He says it can be frustrating searching for a patient’s chart, or waiting for someone to be done with it.

Through CST, anyone who’s caring for a patient across Vancouver Coastal Health, the Provincial Health Services Authority and Providence Health Care will have immediate access to their chart via a new shared clinical information system.

Another benefit Phil sees is ensuring access to legible documentation, because everything will be entered in the system.

“Everyone is going to be able to read what everyone else is writing.” 

Download a printable version of this article, All thanks to a broken fibula: Profile of Phil Sweeney (PDF).