Queensland Health Minister, the Honourable Stephen Robertson MP, has launched Australia’s first entry-level Doctor of Physiotherapy degree at Bond University.
Mr Robertson said the degree would help to overcome the shortage of qualified physiotherapists in Queensland.
“Physiotherapists are in strong demand across Australia and this need is likely to increase as the population ages and health services focus more on prevention and rehabilitation services,” Mr Robertson said.
“Queensland Health currently employs 650 physiotherapists but we need more.
“Increasing the recruitment pool for qualified physiotherapists will benefit all of Queensland.
“This two-year course will produce ‘work ready’ graduates with theoretical knowledge and extensive clinical experience,” he said.
Speaking at the official launch of the program last night, Mr Robertson told his audience of Gold Coast health professionals, Bond University staff and the inaugural class of physiotherapy students, that his government would be putting “maximum effort” into growing the health workforce in the coming years.
“The environment in which we are launching this program is one which is going to provide some wonderful opportunities for allied health professionals in the years ahead,” he said.
Bond University’s Professor of Physiotherapy Dr Elizabeth Gass says the industry is “desperate for work ready graduates whose theoretical knowledge is matched by extensive clinical experience”.
“The demands of the workplace are such that qualified professionals simply do not have the time for hand-holding,” she said.
“They need graduate physiotherapists who have the confidence, initiative, time management and communication skills to hit the ground running and work autonomously from day one.”
After extensive consultations with practicing physiotherapists, Dr Gass, together with Sports Physiotherapist, Assistant Professor Michael Pahoff, developed a very clinically-focused doctorate program incorporating elements of the highly successful problem-based learning model developed by Canada’s McMaster University.
“The program incorporates 30 weeks of clinical placements spaced throughout the course and an additional 12-week clinical internship prior to graduation,” Dr Gass said.
“Through limiting our intake to 20 students and working extensively with our network of industry colleagues, we have been able to guarantee high quality clinical places for all students and ensure a one-on-one personalised approach to the academic learning process,” she said.
The inaugural class of 19 students has commenced study this week.
Applicants are required to have completed an exercise science degree or its equivalent with pre-requisite subjects such as anatomy, biomechanics and physiology.
Bond University’s two-year Exercise Science and Sports Science undergraduate programs are ideal pathways to the Doctor of Physiotherapy – a combination that allows school leavers to become qualified physiotherapists in just four years of study.
Both undergraduate pathway programs allow students to commence study in the January, May or September semesters.