Therapeutic recreation students from Memorial have something to brag about. Since 2010, they have scored higher than average on the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) exam. The Human Kinetics and Recreation (HKR) graduates have scored an average of 80 per cent compared to a national rate of 73.6 per cent.
Therapeutic recreation students across the country can write the NCTRC exam after graduation. It's considered a regulation mechanism that ensures practitioners have the same baseline competencies. The first time a therapeutic recreation student from Memorial wrote the exam in 2008.
For alumnae like Meagan Young, the national exam was her final step to becoming a certified therapeutic recreation specialist and is required by many health care authorities, including Eastern Health where she currently works. Ms. Young who works with the Janeway's Lifestyle Program, said the fact that Memorial students do well speaks to the quality of the program." It speaks to the course content as well as the professors ... I think that MUN's program is very unique in the sense that you really get a well-rounded understanding of the field of recreation."
Assistant professor, Dr. Anne-Marie Sullivan says when she joined HKR in 2002 there were no therapeutic recreation specific courses. "I started by offering an introductory course in the fall 2003 semester and it has really blossomed from there. I was involved with the Newfoundland and Labrador Therapeutic Recreation Association and heard from a number of people that they wanted to see therapeutic recreation courses added to our course offerings."
Stacey Tucker, who graduated from HKR in 2010, is also a certified therapeutic recreation specialist with Eastern Health. She wrote the exam because she felt it would demonstrate to her employer, and herself, that she could extend her knowledge even further. "It makes me feel more professional. I have attained a higher level of education through writing my exam and I'm able to extend that knowledge to therapeutic recreation students by mentoring them during internship placements. Also, because I have to maintain my certification, it means that I have to constantly continue my education."
Dr. Sullivan said these exam results give her confidence that HKR is headed in the right direction with its therapeutic recreation program. "The curriculum is designed to not only prepare students for this exam but more importantly to prepare them for opportunities in the field of therapeutic recreation upon graduation."
Currently, there are 75 students registered in the bachelor of recreation program. In 2012, HKR admitted 40 new students, the most admitted since the program began.