Here at Sydney Sports & Orthopaedic Physiotherapy we realise that education is the key to moving forwards within our profession. As such, we created an physiotherapy internship program that is helping to mould the next generation of physiotherapists.
As well as taking physiotherapy students from Bond University in Queensland, we are one of only a few clinical physiotherapy practices in Australia that offers an 8-week in house clinical internship to overseas physiotherapists too. We have already established ourselves with several prominent US universities and are approved Clinical Instructors with the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).
Students from the University of Utah and Ohio State University (OSU) who completed their physiotherapy internships last year reported that our intern program was easily the best program they had been exposed to throughout their training to date.
The internship is primarily observational. The student physiotherapist may build a small caseload, however, they are closely supervised at all times. With the patients consent, the student is allowed to observe the assessment and subsequent treatments and is involved in discussing treatment plans/progressions and encouraged to develop strength, flexibility and endurance exercise programmes under our guidance. The student is trained in the most up to date clinical diagnostic techniques and tools. Individual tutorial sessions are also included to teach and practice manual assessment and management techniques.
As well as working closely with all of our senior physiotherapists within the clinic setting, there are a series of structured external sessions. These include observational visits to:
- Orthopaedic Operating Room
- Clinic visits to Specialist Orthopaedic Surgeons (shoulder/knee/spinal out patient clinics) and Specialist Sports Physicians
- Specialist musculoskeletal radiology
- Podiatry/Orthotic/Trac lab
See the below table for a typical week for an physiotherapist intern:
Case studies are implemented weekly to assess the students clinical reasoning skills covering a number of different pathologies and hypothetical treatment plans are discussed and honed by the clinical instructor.
Another component contained within the internship is research and presentation. The student is given a task at the beginning of the placement and has to independently research the current literature to produce a presentation at the completion of the internship. This is presented to the five senior physiotherapists on staff at SSOP who will critique the information presented.
The student will also be involved in working along side us with any in house research project we may be involved with (we are currently involved in a patellofemoral pain study, and a study looking at the role of Real Time Ultrasound and deep hip stability in patients with sacroiliac joint pain).
Our focus is to improve the clinical decision-making and knowledge base of our students, so that when they enter the workforce they are sharper and more competent than their peers.