A new degree to train the physiotherapists of the future will use robotics, virtual reality devices and smart phone-enabled therapy to complement strong therapeutic skills, clinical reasoning and evidence-based practice.
Students will study an integrated curriculum that focuses on the lifespan of the patient and clinical settings, rather than teaching in traditional silos of musculoskeletal, cardiorespiratory and neurology systems. They will undertake extensive clinical placement in hospitals, private practice and an on-campus physiotherapy clinic, complemented by clinical simulation in purpose-built university facilities.
The Master of Physiotherapy at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) is in the advanced stages of standard accreditation processes with the Australian Physiotherapy Council for commencement in 2017.
Professor of Physiotherapy Lynley Bradnam, from the UTS Graduate School of Health, says the university aims to educate physiotherapists who will perform with distinction in the local and global market.
“As with many health sector jobs, ours is a growing profession. Demand for physiotherapists is very strong around the world and Australian-trained physios are particularly well regarded,” says Professor Bradnam.
“UTS has developed this course in close consultation with the profession who have identified the pressing challenges that need to be addressed in healthcare practice of the future.”
Noah Mitchell, Physiotherapy Manager at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, and a member of the UTS Industry Advisory Board, says, “The establishment of the UTS Physiotherapy course comes at an exciting time for the profession. UTS has been working very closely with physiotherapists throughout NSW to develop a course that combines 70 years of physiotherapy learning and practice with a spirit of innovation.
“The UTS course has a commitment to building on our knowledge base and educating a new generation of physiotherapists to not only be ready for the future but to shape it. I feel lucky to have been involved in the early stages of the course formation and eagerly anticipate the future directions of the profession as driven through courses like UTS.”
UTS will be the first university in Australia to use Tyromotion, a suite of robotic-aided virtual-reality rehabilitation devices developed in Austria. Students will also be exposed to remote patient services such as tele-rehabilitation.
UTS Provost Professor Peter Booth says a vibrant practice-driven program of research will be a hallmark of the physiotherapy discipline at UTS, noting that Professor Bradnam is a world expert in dystonia, the third most common neurological movement disorder.
“Physiotherapy at UTS will have a research-intensive culture, with international researchers, postdoctoral fellows and research students working to foster better health outcomes and add to the physiotherapy evidence base.”