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Graduate public sector perspective

I’m currently working as a first-year graduate physiotherapist at Campbelltown and Camden hospitals as part of the NSW Physiotherapy Allocation program. The year has been an incredible opportunity to facilitate the transition from physiotherapy student into a qualified physiotherapist. Initially I thought the hardest thing about the transition would be the limited support—not having a clinical educator—but I was pleasantly surprised.

The year commenced with weekly first-year graduate inservices and regular clinical supervision with my senior. This was exceptionally helpful, as I was able to troubleshoot complex cases and learn new skills relevant to my current caseload. Rotations are three months each at Campbelltown and Camden, which was an appropriate amount of time to build and refine my skillset in four main areas—rehabilitation, cardiorespiratory, geriatrics and a combined rotation of paediatrics and musculoskeletal. With each rotation, I was well supported by my seniors and colleagues as I adjusted to the new clinical load.

Recently I’ve had the chance to assist in clinical supervision of physiotherapy students, which I felt surprisingly comfortable with; it was great being able to work with students, having been one so recently myself, and, through teaching, I have been able to challenge myself continue to learn at the same time.

The allocation program has been highly beneficial in regards to professional development. Our department runs monthly department-wide inservices, monthly team-specific inservices, and encourages attendance to external courses. I had the opportunity to attend an external course to develop my skills in acute respiratory assessment and treatment, which I found extremely valuable as I was able to practise skills such as suction and manual hyperinflation in preparation for my cardiorespiratory rotation.

I also attended a constraint-induced movement therapy course during my rehabilitation rotation. This was a new skill that my seniors learnt alongside me, and we worked together to develop a model to implement this treatment into our common practice. The frequency and accessibility of these learning experiences has enabled me to quickly develop confidence in my abilities as a physiotherapist.

I think this opportunity to work with such a varied caseload across major clinical areas has provided me with a strong foundation which will benefit me for the rest of my career, whether that be in hospital setting or elsewhere. In the short term, I hope to continue working in the public hospital system, as I enjoy being part of a large physiotherapy and allied health team, working closely with other health professionals. I would highly recommend applying for the NSW Physiotherapy Allocation program, as it is a great experience and there are many opportunities to learn and develop skills as a junior physiotherapist.

Jason Darwall, APAM


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