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  • A Day in the Life of a Hand Physiotherapist in All Physio Blogs, Clinical Physio, Physio News, A Day in the Life of
    5 Sep 2019  | 0 Comments

    Catherine Chong | Hand Physiotherapist | Hand TherapistCatherine Chong is an Advanced Physiotherapist (Hand Therapist) currently working at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital

     

    What is your current position?

    I am an Advanced Physiotherapist (Hand Therapy) at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.


    Where did you study and what year did you graduate?

    I studied a Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy) at The University of Sydney graduating in 2006.


    Do you have any post-graduate qualifications/research/special committee roles?

    I am a Certified Hand Therapist (USA) and recently completed my Postgraduate Certificate in Hand Therapy with the University of Derby. I’m currently working through my Masters in Hand Therapy with the University of Derby. I’m also a member of the Queensland Hand Therapy Network and Australian Hand Therapy Association.


    Where was your new-graduate job?

    I worked at Westmead Hospital in Western Sydney as a new graduate. This provided a great opportunity to experience a variety of areas in physiotherapy. I’m thankful for the interesting and challenging caseload that a tertiary and trauma hospital brings as well as the wealth of knowledge different professions provide while working together.


    What areas have you worked in during your career to date?

    For the past 10 years I have specialised in hands working in both public and private sectors. Most of my hands experience includes complex trauma such as injuries following motor vehicle/bike accidents in an outpatient setting. Before that I worked as a rotating physiotherapist and covered different areas including Geriartrics, Emergency, Musculoskeletal, Respiratory, Neuro, Orthopaedics and Cancer Care.


    Who are the main patients you see in your current position and what is your role in their care?

    There’s never a dull moment in hand therapy! We see a variety of injuries from simple fractures to large injuries that include bones, nerves, tendons, ligaments, muscles and skin. We also see amputations and provide therapy following replants. Some common injuries occur depending on sporting seasons. Others are from everyday use of the hand. I can’t tell you how many times we see patients who accidently cut their thumbs trying to remove the avocado pith or trying to remove a branch from the lawn mower.

    In hand therapy we work closely with the surgeons to decide what structures require protection and what exercises we can provide to prevent stiffness and maximise function. My role involves wound/scar care, oedema management, splinting and providing advice and education throughout a patient’s recovery.


    What are the most rewarding parts of your current role?

    Patients often come to see me regularly for a long period of time as their recovery can take months to occur. The most rewarding part of my role is getting a chance to build rapport with my patients, hear their stories and see them return to work and doing things they enjoy. An injury can be a stressful and life changing experience. I really enjoy being able to support patients through that journey.


    What are the most challenging parts of your current role?

    Some patients have injuries because of their mental status and that can be challenging for me to see. A compromise often needs to be negotiated between patient, therapist and medical team due patient circumstances and compliance. Working well as a team is helpful to prevent therapist burn out. The clinic setting can be chaotic with the noise and number of patients that need to be seen. Ensuring I have easy access to chocolate and tea is often helpful during these times!


    Do you have any advice for physiotherapists wanting to pursue a role in this area of work?

    I’ll pass on some great advice I was given when I first started in hands: don’t get overwhelmed by the protocols and do a wound course.

    The Australian Hand Therapy Association run good courses specific to hand therapy such as splinting and trauma as well as special interest group meetings throughout the year. I completed a LightBox Radiology Course and APA Emergency Department course, which has been helpful for me to make clinical decisions with hand fractures. Exposure to musculoskeletal physiotherapy is also beneficial to gain an understanding of healing principles and when hand pain can be due to proximal structures (shoulder and neck). Finding an experienced mentor is also invaluable. Hands can be a very open environment as therapists treat alongside each other. Being open to learning and ideas with colleagues from different disciplines has taught me so much.

  • Unite Health's Owner & Director shares her journey with Pilates in All Physio Blogs, Clinical Physio, Physio News, A Day in the Life of
    7 Aug 2019  | 0 Comments

    Sarah Todd| Unite Health| APPI Pilates

    Sarah Todd, Unite Health's Owner & Director shares her journey with Pilates

    My 2 passions in life are education and movement.

    I started my journey with my Cert 3 in Fitness when I was 19. I soon started teaching aerobics and aqua classes and I was in my element! I then went on to complete my Bachelors Degree in Health Promotion.

    My first professional job was in corporate health promotion, but the rest of the world was calling, so I moved to the UK and started working with APPI.   Here I obtained my APPI Pilates Certification and fell in love with the method from day one. I taught Matwork & Reformer Pilates in the UK and felt so lucky to work with my 2 passions every day (education and movement!) It didn’t feel like it was “work”.

    Pilates was the missing piece of the jigsaw and I was in my element!

    Being tall comes with its challenges, and I also have scoliosis. Pilates changed my posture, gave me body awareness I never had before, made me stand tall, with more confidence and helped me move in a way I didn’t know was possible. I connected with my body on a much deeper level.

    I loved helping others discover the benefits of Pilates. 17 years on, the feeling I get when I teach a group class still feeds my soul.

    Overseas travel and educating myself in different countries has upskilled me and pushed me further than I ever expected. While I lived in the UK I traveled over to Canada and completed Pilates Certification with Stott. Broadening my horizons to the rest of the world, outside of the lovely bubble we live in here in Australia, has given me so much more experience and international qualifications that I can take with me wherever I go.

    After 4 years in the UK, I moved back to Australia and Unite Health was born. Unite Health is the exclusive license holder for APPI Pilates Education in Australia and NZ.

    I continued teaching and educating myself with 200hr and 300hr Yoga Teacher Training in Bali, and I completed another degree in Exercise & Sport Science Degree.

    7 years on and Unite Health has gone from strength to strength, running 120 + courses a year, Australia and NZ wide. We are not a Pilates studio, we are all about education and that is our sole focus and passion.

    My philosophy is to never stop learning and bettering yourself. Open up to the rest of the world and be part of the global Pilates movement, because, let's face it, it is taking over the world #pilatesobsessed

    Ready to start your Pilates teacher training and change your life? View our upcoming course dates here.

     

    Reproduced with kind permission from Sarah Todd; Unite Health

  • A Day in the Life of an Emergency Department Physiotherapist in All Physio Blogs, Clinical Physio, Physio News, A Day in the Life of
    26 Jun 2019  | 0 Comments

    Emergency Department Physiotherapist

    Janelle Heine works as an Emergency Physiotherapy Practitioner in the Emergency and Trauma Centre at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital (RBWH)

    What is your current position?

    Emergency Physiotherapy Practitioner, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH)


    Where did you study and what year did you graduate?

    I studied at La Trobe University in Melbourne and graduated in 1992.


    Do you have any post-graduate qualifications/research/special committee roles?

    • Masters of Physiotherapy (Research), La Trobe University
    • Grad Dip in International Public Health, University Qld
    • Prescribing for Allied Health, QUT


    Where was your new-graduate job?

    I worked for a year in Bendigo in country Victoria at an inpatient rehabilitation centre.


    What areas have you worked in during your career to date?

    • Graduate year in Rehabilitation Hospital; Victoria
    • Musculoskeletal outpatients/orthopaedic inpatients, 4 years; USA,
    • Musculoskeletal outpatients, acute hospital ward work, 6 months; UK
    • Inpatient Orthopaedics, 9 years; Victoria
    • Musculoskeletal outpatients and ward work, including women’s health, 4 years; Al Ahli Hospital, Qatar
    • Orthopaedic Physiotherapy Screening Clinic, 3 years; RBWH
    • Emergency Physiotherapy Practitioner, 2014 - current; RBWH



    Who are the main patients you see in your current position and what is your role in their care?

    I am a primary contact emergency department physiotherapist. I work in the Emergency and Trauma Centre at RBWH and see a variety of patients that present with musculoskeletal injuries. Conditions can include simple ankle sprains and acute LBP, as well as patients presenting post minor motor vehicle accidents and trauma. Sometimes weird and wonderful stories come through the door, including a patient who sustained a knee injury whilst hanging upside from a horse in a stunt show.

    I commonly treat joint dislocations and upper and lower limb fractures. I am responsible for independently assessing the patient, requesting x-ray and other appropriate imaging, interpreting x-rays and providing ED management and ongoing follow up or referral for these patients.

    I can reduce dislocated joints and fractures and apply plaster or splints as necessary. I can prescribe simple analgesia for these patients, and additional study and a research trial allows me to prescribe opioids to the patients that consent to be part of the trial. I work independently but also collaboratively with other medical staff in ED and make specialist referrals to orthopaedics or plastic surgeons as appropriate. 


    What are the most rewarding parts of your current role?

    • The team environment in ED is amazingly supportive. The medical and nursing staff are always approachable and really value physiotherapy input, however big or small it might be. It’s nice to work somewhere where you feel appreciated and like you make a difference.
    • I learn something new every day and enjoy the challenge of assessing and diagnosing conditions – each patient is like a mini mental puzzle.
    • I love the diversity of patients and conditions that come through the door – every day is different.



    What are the most challenging parts of your current role?

    • Dealing with patients in acute pain can be difficult at times. Being part of ED where people’s lives can change so drastically and dramatically can be confronting sometimes, and makes you value your own health. There are a lot of sad stories that happen in ED, and while I am not usually involved in the direct care of these patients, you still hear the stories and see the other staff dealing with these situations.
    • Sometimes the noise and chaos and sheer number of people coming and going can be stressful, but conversely that is also what I love about my job.
    • Learning to do 5 things at once, whilst being interrupted 3 times!


    Do you have any advice for physiotherapists wanting to pursue a role in this area of work?

    Having a strong musculoskeletal background is important, but it needs to be on a base of good broad-based hospital experience, which includes ward work. This gives you exposure to physiotherapy and medical knowledge in different areas, as patients that present initially as a musculoskeletal patient may not have a musculoskeletal condition after all. A musculoskeletal master’s degree is a desirable post graduate qualification to hold, but is not essential to becoming an emergency physiotherapy practitioner.

    Experience in working in ED in a secondary contact role is great for becoming familiar with the environment and will give you exposure to physio management that is unique to ED settings, such as acute fracture management. Many hospitals will have a secondary contact physiotherapy service that if often used as a training role for upskilling to primary contact physiotherapy roles.

    Work in inpatient orthopaedic settings, outpatient musculoskeletal settings, private practice, pain clinics are all helpful to expand your physiotherapy and musculoskeletal knowledge and experience.

    Try to get involved in your state physiotherapy ED network. In Queensland we have a network that meets every two months by videoconference. We have case presentations each meeting which are a valuable learning experience for clinicians and then discuss other relevant issues.


    Any other comments?

    I love my job as an Emergency physiotherapy practitioner, and am excited to be part of this rapidly expanding area of physiotherapy.  

 

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