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My favourite placement
Physiotherapy graduate Georgina Haire discovered a silver lining when her final placement was interrupted by COVID-19 restrictions last year. Here’s her story.
Growing up on the land, I have always aspired to return to practice in rural and remote communities, so understandably I was disappointed to not be able to experience a placement in a rural area last year.
Instead of completing my placement at Palmerston Regional Hospital in the Northern Territory, I was allocated a placement at St George Private Hospital in Kogarah in Sydney.
Initially, I was disappointed to have to undertake another placement in Sydney as accommodation is very expensive and difficult to find, and it is a long way from home, which was a bit scary given the global pandemic. However, once I started at St George, I really enjoyed myself and will admit that it turned out to be my favourite placement.
I spent five weeks covering acute cardiac surgery and acute gastrointestinal surgery wards, as well as treating patients in the Intensive Care Unit.
In my final week, I was seeing a case load of 15 – 20 patients per day, which really helped me to improve my time management skills. I was also given the opportunity to run education classes for patients post bariatric surgery and in my final week I had to present on a complex case study to the physiotherapy team.
These opportunities really helped me to improve my skills in public speaking, clinical reasoning and exploring quality, up-to-date research.
During my time with the physio team at St George, I was able to follow a patient through their stay at the hospital for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABGx3), or more commonly known as triple bypass surgery. I completed the pre-surgery physiotherapy testing which involved auscultation, a spirometry test to measure the patient’s lung function and a mobility assessment. I was then able to go into theatre and watch the operation take place from the start until the patient returned to the ICU.
This put into perspective how major this surgery really is and why patients are so sore for weeks afterwards! Following the surgery, I worked with the patient to ensure that his chest remained clear of infection with deep breathing exercises and that he returned to his baseline mobility in order to return home safely.
Without the support from CRANAplus and a HESTA Sponsored Undergraduate Remote Placement Scholarship, I would have really struggled to support myself financially through this placement. This scholarship allowed me to make the most of my placement and dedicate extra hours to studying, without worrying about how to make ends meet.
I studied my Bachelor of Physiotherapy at Charles Sturt University in Port Macquarie and, as much as I enjoyed living by the beach, I am very excited to return to a rural community in north-west NSW to commence work in 2021.
I hope that one day I am in a position to be able to give back to help other students from rural and remote communities to pursue their tertiary education.