Award helps pave the way for success


Making a difference means more to James Jansz than simply helping people. 

The final-year student at La Trobe University, where he is studying a combined Bachelor of Applied Science and Master of Physiotherapy Practice, has set himself a broader goal of helping his fellow students, the community, the profession and, eventually, his patients.

For his dedication to the profession and others, James has been named as the recipient of the 2019 APA Board of Directors Student Prize.

Winning the award late last year has been humbling, James says, particularly because accolades have never been the goal of his desire to do good. However he is proud to have received the recognition, citing winning the award as his ‘greatest achievement of my life to date’.

‘I am still in awe that I was able to achieve this, particularly as I never set out to win any awards when I began giving back through volunteering in my community and in multiple physiotherapy and sports medicine committees,’ James says. ‘I had always volunteered within the community and on these committees as a means of giving back, and to be recognised for my efforts is incredible.

‘I am genuinely humbled that the APA Board of Directors was impressed by my contributions, and I look forward to an even greater involvement within the APA moving forward. I am a huge believer in giving back, and this is the least I can do for the support the APA has shown me throughout the years, and in particular, with this award.’

James’s list of achievements include being a representative on the La Trobe Physiotherapy Student Association for the past four years, organising the university’s first placement readiness seminar and mentoring program and hosting social events designed to increase the cohesion of all cohorts. James also sits on multiple physiotherapy and sports medicine committees outside of the university.

As a student, James is keen to make a difference to the epidemic of chronic pain and improve the health outcomes of all patients. Having watched his mother seek help from multiple health practitioners without result, but eventually finding that help with a physiotherapist, James was motivated to be the best practitioner possible, and he hopes to achieve that by working in private practice after graduation. In the meantime he will continue his studies and working as the rehabilitation coordinator for the St Kilda Football Club’s Next Generation Academy, where he can explore his passion for rehabilitation and performance through strength and conditioning.

‘I have a real desire to improve the quality of new graduate physiotherapists. I seek out positions, such as my position within the APA Victoria branch student committee, where I can directly organise personal development events aimed at students to enhance their knowledge and capabilities,’ James says.

‘I strongly believe that continuous education is important at all stages of our career as physiotherapists. By addressing deficits between university and practice through these professional development events, I hope to empower new graduate physiotherapists to enter their new jobs with the confidence, knowledge and skillset to make a significant difference in the lives of their patients.’

Since being awarded the prize, James says he has been afforded the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals dedicated to the continuous improvement of the industry and patient outcomes. He was also invited to Swinburne University, along with the APA Vic Branch Council, to gain a greater understanding of how they use advanced technology in the development of the next generation of leaders within the profession.

‘Given that this award is representative of my passion for physiotherapy and strong desire for change, future employers have recognised this and I have been commended on my commitment to the profession on multiple occasions.

‘It provides me with a significant point of difference from other new graduates, which has proven to be pivotal when applying for popular new graduate physiotherapist positions,’ James says.

James also says he is very proud to be a physiotherapist and it excites him that his contribution within the APA has provided a platform for other like-minded physiotherapy students to develop and grow.

‘I have always had a passion for enabling people to reach their potential. I genuinely believe that all physiotherapy students have a lot to offer the world, particularly those who share the same desire and passion to make a difference,’ James says. ‘These students need to be nurtured and encouraged to push past the boundaries of their own limitations. My ultimate aim is to empower the next generation of physiotherapy students to explore their own passions and optimise the outcomes of their patients every day.’


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