Physio students get a dose of inspiration

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Spring 9-9-2010

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place



Fourth year Physiotherapy (PT) students at The University of Notre Dame Australia, were recently treated to a day of professional presentations, panel discussions and networking opportunities, at a seminar designed to give them a taste of professional life after university.

A variety of practical topics were discussed, from paediatric practice to graduate experiences in the workforce, with presentations by a number of high-profile representatives from private and public PT organisations around Australia, including Lifecare, The Australian Defence Force and the Australian Physiotherapy Association.

Notre Dame Graduates, Seif El-Wardani and Jenny Nash, flew in from their remote WA practices to the Fremantle Campus, to speak to students about their experiences as rural PTs since graduation.

Both graduates shared compelling, inspiring and sometimes comical examples of their time in the profession and how they came to be independent, capable and well respected PTs in their own right.

Mr El-Wardani said practicing in a rural community had it rewards, challenges and presented a unique opportunity to excel in the profession.

“Going bush is a pretty exciting experience. Like any new experience in life, it will present you with a lot of challenges but within those challenges, you will find opportunities to excel, extend your professional boundaries and learn new skills in order to become more competent in your own practice of physiotherapy,” he said.

“In terms of caseload, you have a great diversity in the nature, cause and presentations that you will come across. You’re going to see everything from trauma, sports and work related injury, post surgical, general conditions and occupational health, depending on where you go.

“A big challenge is that you have a much higher level of autonomy. You might not have constant support to fall back on. It does make you develop into a much more independent practitioner.”

Ms Nash agreed, explaining to students how her initial reluctance to ‘go bush’ turned into a rewarding experience and passion for helping people in remote communities.

“Our department is at Pilbara Population Health and I’m one of the only physios within a 300km radius. There are no private physios in Tom Price or Paraburdoo, so we receive lots of referrals.

“Working like this, you become quite good at triage. Your clinical reasoning is refined and I think that’s what Notre Dame does really well.

“One thing I found being a Notre Dame graduate, and now being on the other side seeing Notre Dame students, is that we have been taught how to think and process information very, very well.”

School of Physiotherapy Lecturer, Pam George, said the seminar was received very well by fourth-year students, with a number commenting on the excitement and inspiration they felt for the future after listening to speakers on the day.

“Students are saying they feel even more prepared and excited about the avenues and opportunities available to them after graduation. One student commented on how the seminar felt like a ‘welcome to the profession.’ This is exactly the sort of inspiration we want to instil in our graduates,” she said.

Media Contact:

Andrea Barnard (+61) 8 9433 0610, Mob (+61) 0408 959 138