Helping people, regardless of the field, requires knowledge, passion, and empathy.
For Karen Nichol, there’s another ingredient – one that not only led her to a successful path as a physiotherapist, but continues to guide her approach with every patient: personal experience, as a patient.
“I was a very active growing up. I played competitive basketball and college basketball, and so I had quite a few injuries along the way,” she recalls. “And I just had this fascination with the human body, how it operated, how it restored itself. Having the experience of working with a good physiotherapist and discovering what a huge impact that could have really changed me.”
Those memories continue to guide Nichol today as much as they did at the beginning of her career.
“It really does come down to listening, to really seeing each client as an individual and hearing their story – what’s happened to them, how does it impact them, what are their goals, what do they need right now?” she said. “The number 1 priority is quality of care for each of our clients – listening, a thorough assessment, top-notch care.”
Nichol opened Royal City Physio almost six years ago, building on a long career of working with a wide spectrum of clients. In particular, her work with athletes of all levels – including professional athletes, NHL players, and serving as chief physiotherapist for Team Canada’s lacrosse team in both 2007 and 2011 World Championships, to name just a few - had earned her a sterling reputation that continues to build on itself.
These days, she continues to work one-on-one with clients, while also fostering and mentoring a new generation of physiotherapists at her clinic.
“I love my team – these are amazing individuals who are so dedicated, and I love that I can help mentor them,” she said. “Everyone has different interests, areas of focus that they may want to specialize in, or unique backgrounds that help them with particular clients, and so I really enjoy guiding that and supporting them in their growth.”
It’s an approach that continues to grow the Royal City Physio reputation and Nichol says she’s looking forward to the coming years.
“New Westminster is such a wonderful place. I started my career here and it’s been an amazing journey to continue growing here with my own clinic. This community is so supportive, and when we see people referring their friends, family, their children, it’s just so rewarding,” she says. “I have a vision for the clinic, and we plan to be here and growing for a long time.”
No matter what the future brings, one thing will remain a constant: giving the best care to every single person who comes through their door.
“We’re able to adapt quickly to those unique needs – we might have someone who is a retired senior who wants to get back out into their garden, and the next client is a professional athlete that needs to get out on the field as quickly as possible because that’s their career,” she said. “Those are very different needs, different goals, but they both get the same care, the same attention, every single time.” For Nichol, it’s exciting to see her clinic grow and to be looking ahead – but the most rewarding part of her day will always be the same: knowing she’s made a difference for someone.
“It’s the best part of this work, to help someone feel better.”
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