6 top tips for new physiotherapy students
Are you interested in becoming a physiotherapist? Here, Bond University physiotherapy students offer their 6 top tips to get the most out of your degree.
1. Get organized
Before you start your degree, there are a few administrative tasks you will need to complete. You will be working with a range of different people, including children, so it’s important to be up to date with your vaccinations, secure a blue card, and undertake some checks.
But not to worry; you won’t be navigating this process on your own! Your OzTREKK admissions officer will be there to walk you through the process and will give you a heads up on what to expect.
Students have access to a number of resources to guide you through the process, just ask a fellow Canadian, Joseph:
“The booklet provided by the Compliance Team do a good job of laying out what is required and guiding you through the process,” he said. “Take your time through each step and try not to stress about everything that’s required. It’s quite an easy feat!”
2. Get ready to get hands-on
More than half of Bond’s physiotherapy program is based on clinical experiential learning. It’s one of the things that sets the program apart, explained Joseph. “My favourite part about Bond’s approach to learning is the fact we do the theory work for a particular subject and then follow it up with placement.
“For me it is the best way to learn, and it helps me retain and apply the knowledge obtained from class. The amount of practical time we get throughout the duration of the program really helps build your confidence and prepares you for the work force.”
For former OzTREKK student Catherine, the 30 weeks of clinical experience suited her learning style. “I appreciate being able to get fully involved with my clinical educators and other physiotherapists to get a better learning experience,” she said. “It’s also much more than any other program I could have applied to within Canada.”
3. Make the most of orientation
Your first semester starts with orientation, a week of activities to introduce you to Bond University, to the physio program, and to your classmates.
Joseph didn’t know anyone before he arrived at Bond, but he says orientation was the perfect way to start his degree. “During Orientation Week, I instantly connected with some people and continued to do things with them,” he said.
“I found other students that enjoyed sports as much as myself and we located sport groups that we could participate in and now we make time to play volleyball, ice hockey, squash, and basketball. One of the best things I did was join numerous sports groups at Bond, as they are open to all athletic abilities and it’s another way to unwind from the busy schedules of university.”
Of course, with OzTREKK, you’ll be introduced to other OzTREKK students during the predeparture phase of your journey! We also create program-specific Facebook Groups and a master “Student Contact List” for those who wish to get to know people before they leave. You’ll be ahead of the game when it come to “getting to know your fellow students.” (Pssst, some even find roommates this way!)
4. Keep an open mind
There are so many different facets to physiotherapy and graduates can go on to specialize in a range of areas. It’s one of the things that surprised Catherine the most.
“I did not know that there were so many specializations that I could become accredited in,” she said. “I didn’t know their scope of practice and the options available for me to work in.”
Being a sporty person, Joseph had always been interested in musculoskeletal physiotherapy, but he was also unaware of the options available to him. He says keeping an open mind about the profession is key to making the most of your time at university.
“Growing up I had only been exposed to private practice physiotherapy dealing with soft tissue injuries,” he said. “As I near completion of my degree I find myself amazed at how many paths you can take within physiotherapy and therefore you can find yourself finding a new interest and shifting to that area and re-learning or learning new things about the body.
“I also enjoyed the business side, as it teaches us the costs that are associated with running a business in the industry, so we have an idea of what to expect as either an employer or employee.”
5. Trust the process
Catherine admitted she found Bond’s problem-based learning approach challenging at first. Problem-based learning, also known as PBL, is integrated into a number of subjects. A small group of up to eight students are matched with one mentor to work collaboratively on a case study.
“It might be a struggle at first, but it is a benefit to building your mindset on how these practitioners operate via case studies and management,” said Catherine.
PBL relies heavily on a common respect between peers, and is an effective way to discuss clinical issues and identify your own personal learning style.
6. Be supported
As a small university with even smaller class sizes, Bond University students have easy access to student support services. Of course, to get the most out of your time at Bond, you should take advantage of the services on offer, as well as the expertise from the academics in charge. Many students use the Career Development Centre, especially near the end of the degree when they will be looking to send out résumés and cover letters. That’s why the mentors are there!
Tips for Canadians
Catherine and Joseph have a few final words of wisdom for you:
Catherine on technology: “Be wary of bringing appliances (e.g., hairdryer, food blenders) as the voltage is much higher in Australia than in Canada so I would suggest purchasing a voltage converter/adaptor if you really want to bring these appliances, though I purchased a straightener here and it works very well.”
Joseph on student support: “There are many support services at Bond, and personally my interaction with the financial department regarding my student loans from Canada have been a great help with filling out the paperwork I send them, handling things in a timely manner and helping me through the submission process.”
Catherine on comfort: “Ensure that you know what is required to wear as part of your clinical uniform. I found it was useful to know ahead of time in order to purchase comfortable navy pants and black business casual shoes.”
Joseph on the climate: “While there is perfect weather all year round to be outside, the summers can be a bit more intense than what I expected, but it is still manageable as long as you know how to prepare yourself in the sun and heat that comes with it (sunscreen, plenty of water, hat, sunglasses!) Also, don’t underestimate the winter weather, I found it beneficial to plan for the cooler winter days and nights.”
Bond University Doctor of Physiotherapy Fast Facts
Bond University’s Doctor of Physiotherapy program is renowned for its unique blend of problem-based scientific learning, practical application, and up to 1,400 hours of clinical placements.
The curriculum integrates the clinical, pathological, and related basic sciences with the physiotherapy knowledge, skills, and professional behaviours and attitudes required to examine, diagnose, and treat physiotherapy clients. Practical experience is also built into theoretical learning, with classes primarily delivered at the Bond Institute of Health and Sport. At this world-class testing and training facility, you will work with elite athletes and professional sporting teams using the most advanced testing equipment available.
Program: Doctor of Physiotherapy (DPT)
Location: Gold Coast, Queensland
Intake: May each year
Duration: 2 years