a MMB! Kendo Blog: First Taste As A Physiotherapy Student

MMB! Kendo Blog

Saturday, July 30, 2005


忍耐 + 掌握人生
First Taste As A Physiotherapy Student

Getting up at 5:30am
I woke up at 5:30am today. Yes, 5:30am on a Saturday morning. And got out of bed without the slightest struggle. Crazy, isn't it? I was so excited of the day ahead of me that I jumped out of my bed and happily got ready for my first observational physiotherapy experience at the North Sydney Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Centre - Sports Physiotherapy Section.

The clinic usually opens between 7am - 12noon on Saturdays. So I arrived at the main gate of the clinic at 6:45am. However, I had to wait for 45mins before Tristan, one of the clinic's 3 Saturday physiotherapists, arrived as the first appointment of the day was at 7:30am.

I am so in luck
Apparently, the clinic's head physiotherapist who only worked on the weekdays, didn't tell Tristan and the other Saturday physiotherapists about our "one Saturday a month for 3 months" verbal agreement. So I told Tristan all about my physio dream and the observational hours criteria I need to satisfy in order to enroll into the University of Sydney's Physiotherapy course.

Tristan then asked me if I would like to visit every Saturday for the next few months. I was thinking "Oh Wow! I am so in luck. He is giving me the chance to come and visit the clinic every Saturday for the next few months?" You know, I was jumping for joy in my head when I heard that. How could I turn down such a good offer?

"Yes, if that's okay for you?" I said.

Tristan said that's not a problem. So here you go, I can work every Saturday for the next few months to fulfill USyd's 100 observational hours.

The Saturday clinic opens for 5 hours, so it will take 20 visits to meet the 100hrs criteria. That's 4.5 months of weekly visit. Taking out the 2 kendo weekends in August, 5 weeks leave for Japan, 1 Saturday of State Championships and 2 weeks of Christmas & NYE breaks in December, I should be able to fulfill the 100 hours in late January 2006. Woohoo!

Things look so bright ahead!

The observational cases
The first case that I observed was one of Tristan's returning patients with a painful lower back. However, we didn't do much in this case because the patient was simply trying to get Tristan's opinion on whether he should visit a Sports Medicine Doctor and do blood test, MRI Scan, and stuff like that. Tristan had done all he could to fix his back in the previous physio sessions but the pain just kept coming back. So Tristan agreed that he should visit the Sports Medicine Doctor to do a more detailed examination.

Mary, another physiotherapist at the clinic who only comes on Saturdays, arrived at around 7:50am. She has been a physiotherapist for 10 years and came to Sydney from Brighton UK 2 years ago and have been working at this clinic since then.

After Tristan's first patient of the day, I observed all of Mary's five cases for the rest of the morning.

  1. Had surgery on fractured ankle - student rugby player

  2. Sore lower back, buttock and groin - prenancy

  3. Weak knee, Shoulder pain - former rugby player

  4. Neck and right arm pain - right-handed banker (desk job)

  5. Had surgery on dislocated knees - soccer player

I got to say that soccer is a pretty dangerous sport from the cases the clinic received this morning. Apart from the one case that Mary had to look after this morning, Tristan also had two other patients who damaged their knee and had total knee re-construction surgery.

Things I learnt
During my 5 hours at the clinic, I was able to learn how to apply heat pad on patient, and do a few other little things to help Mary with her cases, which was quite satisfying. Below are some of the things I learnt from my observation in the clinic:

  • Be good at listening to patient.

  • Be cheerful and encouraging.

  • Get all the facts about the patient's personal lifestyle.

  • Observe the movements of the patient's complaining body part.

  • Massage can remove scar-tissue, lengthen muscle and help restoring full joint mobility.

  • Heat pad to relax sore but not swelling muscle.

  • Muscle flexibility and strengthening are very important in the rehabilitation process.

  • It's important to do the rehabilitation exercise slowly but correctly to improve the speed of recovery.

I finished at 12:30pm and earned my first all-important physiotherapist signature on the USyd observation experience sheet. YAY!!!

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