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My favourite placement

1 Jun 2021

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.