Helping new grads contribute to the evidence base


MJ ROSEN FUND Since 2001, Western Australian-based graduates have been supported to attend conferences to present research findings from their honours or thesis projects. The three 2019 recipients share how the fund has helped them.

Hannah Brien, APAM, The University of Notre Dame Australia

I presented my honours research in a platform presentation at the World Confederation for Physical Therapy Congress in Geneva, Switzerland.

The conference, held in May last year, brought together clinicians from across the world, so it was incredibly humbling for a new graduate physiotherapist, like myself, to attend. I was able to meet with physiotherapists working to promote the latest advances in physiotherapy and learn about developments in evidence- based practice.

The conference focused on diversity within the profession and practice of physiotherapy, and highlighted the need for physiotherapists to work together to improve the health of patients worldwide.

The Marcus J Rosen Fund has enabled me to gain experience in research, and in presenting to colleagues and other therapists. It has also sparked my interest in making my own contribution to the growing evidence base behind the physiotherapy profession.

My research was entitled ‘Referral patterns to continence physiotherapy services for patients with chronic respiratory conditions’. It looked at the stigma faced by patients experiencing incontinence as a result of a chronic cough, and the impact of this on their access to continence physiotherapy. The APA’s support of new graduates in research has inspired me to continue working in this area, as it is one where I feel I can make a true difference to the experience of these patients.

I sincerely thank the WA branch of the APA for their encouragement of new graduate physiotherapists, and their commitment to furthering the knowledge base of the physiotherapy profession.

Eleanor Andrew, APAM, Curtin University

In mid-October I presented my research at the TRANSFORM 2019 APA Conference in Adelaide. The presentation, ‘Physiotherapists should increase service provision for people with severe mental illness’, was twelve minutes long followed by three minutes of questioning. I completed this research project in 2018 through honours as a component of the final two years of my physiotherapy degree at Curtin University. My research team included Dr Robyn Fary, Associate Professor Kathy Briffa, Professor Flavie Waters and Samantha Lee.

Severe mental illness (SMI) includes schizophrenia spectrum disorders, affective psychosis, and major depression with psychotic features. People with SMI often have very poor physical health, which is a result of both the condition itself and the use of antipsychotic medications.

Physiotherapists are highly trained and experienced in managing the musculoskeletal and cardiorespiratory conditions that people with SMI present with. Despite this, it appears that people with SMI are not accessing or using physiotherapy services for their physical health. Consequently, our research was aimed at exploring why this is the case, from the perspective of the physiotherapist.

We found that stigmatisation of people with SMI, limited education and training, and inadequate structure of the healthcare system were all factors influencing the treatment and management of the physical health of people with SMI.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the conference, and I am grateful to have had this opportunity through the APA.

Lauren Bright, APAM, The University of Notre Dame Australia

Thanks to the APA and the Marcus J Rosen Fund supported by the Rosen family and Physiotherapists Registration Board, I was able to attend the Australia and New Zealand Burns Association Annual Scientific Meeting (ANZBA ASM) in Hobart in October 2019.

At the conference, I presented my honours project entitled ‘The effect of sedation and inotropic support on mobilisation in burns patients admitted to the intensive care unit’. I also attended presentations by invited speakers and other delegates, not only about burns care but also about prominent issues facing our healthcare system including dementia, obesity and the role of telehealth in rural health. I also attended a great half-day workshop on trauma-based care.

As I begin my career as a physiotherapist in 2020, attendance at the ANZBA ASM was invaluable in cementing the ideas of evidence- based practice and the importance of continual engagement in quality improvement processes. Discussions at the conference also involved the aspects of good research design and the implementation of research outcomes into clinical practice.

Preparation for the conference also involved developing my public speaking skills and research dissemination abilities—by preparing  a speech, keynote presentation and designing an e-poster—which are imperative to the educational aspect of physiotherapy.

I look forward to using these skills to contribute to the physiotherapy profession and encourage future students to attend their relevant conferences as a great capstone to the year of research.

A call for 2020 Marcus J Rosen Fund applications will be advertised later this year.

About the award

Marcus J Rosen, who qualified as a physiotherapist in 1931 and practised in Perth, was a foundation member of the APA WA Branch and Physiotherapists Registration Board of Western Australia. The Board and his family provided financial assistance to the fund to support research in the state and to contribute to student awards at Curtin University and The University of Notre Dame Australia.



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