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Physio students get clinical experience in Vietnam

physiotherapy students Vietnam experience
Bundaberg physiotherapy students Erin Middlemiss and Alex Flintoff provide services to patients in Vietnam where they enjoyed a two week clinical placement experience. Photo: Contributed

A small contingent of CQUniversity nursing and physiotherapy students recently returned from a trip to Vietnam where they were given a fresh appreciation to their chosen careers and renewed insight into the importance of quality health care.

Fourteen students including eight third-year physiotherapy students from Bundaberg and Rockhampton visited Hanoi and Mai Chau for a two week clinical placement experience partly funded by a New Colombo Plan (NCP) mobility grant.

The students enjoyed the local customs and hospitality of Mai Chau village whilst providing much needed health checks and physiotherapy services to remote villages and schools in the region.

Under the supervision of nursing academics Trish Channell and Dr Lisa Wirihana and physiotherapy academic Tanya Palmer, the students saw a total of 617 patients from seven clinics and a village.

Tanya said this was the first time physiotherapy and nursing students had joined together for an overseas placement and it was truly unforgettable.

“Some days the group travelled more than an hour to get to remote mountain villages, enjoying the amazing scenery along the way,” Tanya said.

“The group also taught school students from kindergarten age through to early high school about the importance of oral and hand hygiene and the importance of healthy eating, exercise and manual handling, particularly whilst supporting their farming families in the fields.”

After two weeks in the Mai Chau region, they returned to Hanoi where the physiotherapy students continued with a further two week placement at the Ministry of Health National Hospital of Acupuncture.

“Over the two weeks the students completed a course in acupuncture and acupressure theory and practice whilst providing much needed physiotherapy services to patients on the neurological ward,” Tanya said.

Physiotherapy student Erin Middlemiss said the experience was rewarding for both the students and the local communities.

“What was really rewarding about working in the acupuncture clinic was that even though there was a language barrier and a very different view on treatment, the patients were really receptive to us and embraced what we were doing with them,” Erin said.

Another NCP supported program comprising of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and exercise science students will head to Thailand for three weeks from 2 February 2024.

These overseas placements are part of CQUniversity’s CQUGlobal Learning Abroad programs which enable students to take advantage of international opportunities which can be credited towards their degree.

To find out more about overseas placement opportunities at CQUniversity, visit www.cqu.edu.au and search CQUGlobal.

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