Alumni Spotlight: Meet Ranko Vukovic – MPT Class of 2015

Alumni Spotlight: Meet Ranko Vukovic – MPT Class of 2015

This week we are sharing Ranko's Alumni Spotlight, published by UBC. Read the full article below!

As the Founder and CEO of VanCity Physio, Ranko Vukovic has long been a proponent of TeleHealth as a vehicle for making healthcare and professional services more accessible in our communities. This year, his strategy gained widespread acceptance, with healthcare professionals scrambling to put in place their variations on his TelePhysio strategy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

An alumnus of the Master of Physical Therapy program, Ranko is a registered physiotherapist (RPT) licensed with the College of Physiotherapists of British Columbia and a member of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association. He graduated from UBC in 2015 with a Master of Physical Therapy. This year, he was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Professionals of 2020 by Top 100 Magazine.

Before his physiotherapy degree, Ranko studied Kinesiology and graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Kinetics from UBC. After graduating, Ranko was a practicing member of the British Columbia Association of Kinesiologists (BCAK), as well as a BCRPA certified Personal Trainer. He also holds a certificate in Functional Movement Systems and uses these skills to provide movement screening for clients.

Why did you choose the UBC Master of Physical Therapy program?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by human biology and the way our bodies move. As a result, I always knew my chosen career path would lead me to the healthcare sector. Initially, I chose Kinesiology. While working as a Kinesiologist, I noted the practicality and importance of Physiotherapy and how it helped people to unlock the potential in their bodies. I wanted to know more.

I chose the UBC Master of Physical Therapy program, a highly regarded and well-respected program because I knew it would support, encourage and mentor my drive and potential to be a great Physiotherapist. I was passionate about helping people to live a better, more comfortable and healthier life, and I recognized this program would give me the ability to achieve that goal. To see someone in pain, or struggling in their body, has always been something I’ve found immensely difficult to handle. It’s motivated me to seek solutions to help. I adore finding ways to overcome challenges and what better way to apply this passion than helping others with pain. This is why I am so grateful for my education at UBC, where I acquired the skills to get my clients back to work and play. I take so much professional pride in playing a small role in people’s journey toward their success.

What do you consider some of your greatest achievements to date?

I’m motivated by finding answers to difficult challenges. One of the things I’m most proud of as a physiotherapist is pioneering the adoption of virtual care using online platforms. This type of patient care simply wasn’t present in Canada. It was proven effective by many studies, but adoption was slow as people were skeptical of the benefits.

VanCity Physio is the culmination of this effort. We have successfully integrated clinical physiotherapy, mobile physiotherapy and virtual physiotherapy into one practice. This necessitated the creation of a unique business plan, as a clinic of this type simply hadn’t been tried before in British Columbia. Whether it’s at our clinical studio on West Broadway, in a setting of our clients’ choice, or virtually online, we can deliver the same level of patient care in an environment that works for our clients.

I believe the best is still to come. We’ve put the work in to create a great system and I can’t wait to develop it further with the incredible team we’ve put together at VanCity Physio. We are a young, eager and professional company whose philosophy is centred on empowering others to be the best version of themselves.

Tell us about your career journey after graduation.

After graduation, I felt compelled to gain as much experience in the field as I could, working in a community and clinical setting as a locum. I wasn’t picky, to be honest, and I went throughout the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley gaining experience and working wherever I was needed. This experience was crucial to me, as it enabled me to experience a wide variety of different clinics, teams, and client demographics.

While working in clinics, I was also working in a community setting providing in-person and virtual services. This led me to the initial business model for VanCity Physio. We’ve evolved since then, but it highlights the benefits of embarking down the locum path. I found a business-minded trait within myself during this time, spotting ways I felt traditional physiotherapy could be delivered innovatively to accommodate each patient’s healing process.

I also saw a need to make physiotherapy more accessible for patients. I’m extremely excited about the potential for TelePhysiotherapy, and the pandemic we are currently facing will hasten the adoption of the service across Canada.

Tell us about your current role at VanCity Physio?

I have to wear two very different but equally important hats at VanCity Physio. I’m a practicing physiotherapist and a business owner. It’s challenging, the hours can be long, but I love it!

As a physiotherapist, I enjoy helping clients who have injuries that seem to be puzzling in nature. I also enjoy applying specialty treatments that require the use of GUNN IMS as well as treatments geared towards solving Vestibular, Concussion and TMJ dysfunctions.

As an owner, I really enjoy the intricacies involved in running a successful business. I immensely enjoy working with my team and those I bring on, developing their talent and streamlining the way we function as a team!

What are some of the most rewarding aspects of your chosen career path?

Physiotherapy is incredible because it offers daily opportunities to grow and learn. I believe my education at UBC prepared me well for my profession, and I’ve been moulded by some of the amazing physiotherapists I’ve worked with along the way. It has inspired me to make myself available to people starting out, share my expertise with them, and hopefully help them as I was helped.

Another aspect I love is the community around physiotherapy. I value the connections I’ve made with my clients, the professionals in my network, and my valued physiotherapy colleagues.

What advice would you give to current learners in the program?

You’re in a rewarding but challenging program. Even in the hardest days, or most challenging times, there are lessons you will learn that will prove invaluable. Physiotherapy will test you personally and professionally with obstacles that are foreseen and unforeseen. This is normal, and successfully navigating the things that come your way will help you build habits and strategies that will see you through your career.

I would suggest to open yourself to as many experiences as you can within the program, and also after you finish it. There’s no need to be risk-averse. In fact, if you step outside your comfort zone you may like what you discover.

Thanks to the MPT program at UBC, I have developed some amazing, lifelong friendships that are filled with laughter. Cherish these moments with your classmates, they’ll last you a lifetime!

Who inspires you and why?

From when I was a child to this day, my parents continue to be a constant source of inspiration. They have taught me so much about perseverance, determination, hard work, patience, the value of education and the importance of cultivating relationships. They came to Canada with nothing and didn’t know anybody here. All they had were two small kids, $200 and three suitcases of clothes to their name. No matter the struggles I face, I think back to this and remind myself how privileged I am. If they were able to figure out a way forward, I should be able to as well.