Legacy lives on to help young physios

 

For 35 years the enduring legacy of Felice Rosemary Lloyd has left an indelible mark on the future of young Victorian physiotherapists through annual scholarships named in her honour. 

The scholarships promote learning and advancement of careers through postgraduate study and international experience. Felice’s husband, Brian, established the Felice Rosemary Lloyd Trust in her memory in 1985.

‘It is a tragic and inspiring story,’ says Carmel Benjamin AM, chair of the Trust Advisory Panel and Felice’s sister-in- law. ‘Brian wanted to immortalise Felice and what a wonderful, beautiful way of doing that; it keeps her memory alive and it helps other young physios develop their careers—and share her dream—by studying abroad to gain the latest knowledge and skills of the profession.’

After graduating from The University of Melbourne in 1946, the young physiotherapist worked at Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital and in private practice before moving to Europe and the United Kingdom to expand her skills.

‘When in Britain she married Brian Lloyd, who had been her childhood sweetheart when he lived in Australia with his family some years earlier,’ Carmel says. ‘Sadly, Felice passed away in 1954 at just 27. She was curious about the world, passionate about helping others and had the ability to bring people together, so Brian wanted to give other physiotherapists the opportunity to study overseas … and to enjoy and develop their talents in her name, just as she so enjoyed and developed the talents and skills of those around her.

‘I think the photo of their wedding day captures the spirit of the scholarship, and Brian’s wish to honour Felice through offering other young physiotherapists the opportunity to share in her dreams of furthering her professional skills overseas.’

Travels of a recent recipient

On applying for the 2017 scholarship, Jennifer Jones, APAM, knew that if she wanted to improve the outcomes of critically ill patients she needed to broaden her perspective and learn about international models of care. Questions about what influences the recovery of critical illness were emerging while she was working with patients at Austin Health’s intensive care unit following her graduation in 2013.

‘Physiotherapists working in the intensive care unit are faced with a clinical conundrum. On one hand we have trials reporting short- term benefits of rehabilitation delivered in the intensive care unit.

On the other, we have an increasing number of large and rigorous rehabilitation trials reporting no long-term effect,’ says Jennifer, who is a PhD candidate and tutor at The University of Melbourne, and chair of the APA Cardiorespiratory Australia Victoria Committee.

‘The clinical pathway is not as streamlined or defined for patients in intensive care as in other clinical areas, for example, patients who have had a stroke,’ Jennifer says. ‘I applied for this scholarship to understand how we can move forward as a profession to improve the outcomes of our critically ill patients. I knew it could give me a unique opportunity where I could work to expand my skills and knowledge as a clinician, educator and researcher.’

Jennifer visited hospitals and universities in the US and UK, and met with world-renowned critical care researchers, academics and clinicians, including specialist clinical physiotherapists Kelly Morris and Dr Bronwen Connolly.

‘They were very generous with their time, [and] it is meeting and spending time with people like Dr Connolly who make the scholarship so worthwhile as you learn from their personal experience in service delivery. I continue to work closely with Dr Connolly and am appreciative of her guidance as a research mentor.’

Jennifer also attended and presented at an international conference in Washington DC in the US. But it was experience gained at St Thomas’ Hospital intensive care unit in London that still resonates with her.

‘I was astounded by the complexity and diversity of the patients there. There are very few intensive care  unit follow-up clinics in Australia; however, in London it is becoming increasingly more common to provide this service as part of a clinical pathway in order to meet recommendations of clinical guidelines,’ Jennifer says. ‘It was an incredible experience to learn about the patients treated at the clinic and how it operates as a multidisciplinary service.

‘Australia is a really long way away from places, and if you live in Europe it is much easier to see what others are doing. The Felice Rosemary Lloyd scholarship makes an enormous difference in helping Victorian physiotherapists see what the best in the world are doing,’ Jennifer says.

‘The global community of physiotherapy is extremely supportive and generous in sharing knowledge, but Victorian physios need support to travel to seek it, they need time away from clinical practice to focus on a scholarly inquiry. The impact it had on me led to significant change in our healthcare … and I know a lot of academics and clinicians who have received a scholarship are continuing to have positive impact in their work.

‘I encourage physiotherapists who meet the eligibility criteria to apply [for the scholarship] as it was truly the trip of a lifetime as it broadened my scope within physiotherapy on an international scale, and inspired me to look at how I could apply here what specialists are doing overseas to help our patients.’

Advancing physio careers

Three decades have passed since Associate Professor Jennifer McGinley, APAM, received her scholarship, and the head of the physiotherapy department at The University of Melbourne remains grateful for the experiences it gave in establishing her own career in international research.

‘It really spring-boarded my interest in clinical gait analysis. I visited a world-leading centre in Connecticut [in the US] to see the best in clinical gait analysis interpretation,’ Jennifer says. ‘It inspired me to continue my research—at that point it was in Parkinson’s and later

in stroke—and led to me advocating for an adult clinical gait analysis service [in operation today]. So it probably solidified my interest in understanding how research can impact and overlap clinical practice.’

In reinforcing the importance of learning from others and bringing best practice back to Australia, 14 years later Jennifer applied for, and was awarded, a prestigious Churchill Fellowship to again travel overseas to further her research into Parkinson’s disease.

‘Australia is a really long way away from places, and if you live in Europe it is much easier to see what others are doing. The Felice Rosemary Lloyd scholarship makes an enormous difference in helping Victorian physiotherapists see what the best in the world are doing,’ Jennifer says.

‘The global community of physiotherapy is extremely supportive and generous in sharing knowledge, but Victorian physios need support to travel to seek it, they need time away from clinical practice to focus on a scholarly inquiry. The impact it had on me led to significant change in our healthcare … and I know a lot of academics and clinicians who have received a scholarship are continuing to have positive impact in their work.

‘We are fortunate to have a scholarship like this within Victoria as it positions young professionals to gain skills that change the health outcomes of their patients.’

ARE YOU ELIGIBLE?

The purpose of The Victorian Community Foundation— Felice Rosemary Lloyd Trust is to further the development of the physiotherapy profession in Victoria through research and education by providing grants of up to $10,000 that enable recipients to travel and study overseas.

Applicants must:

  • apply through their employer or an  education institution
  • take up their grant offer within 12 months of the award
  • permit to their report or research being published on the APA website.

Preference is given to:

  • individuals aged under 35 who have graduated within the past five to 10 years
  • graduates or professionals who wish to travel overseas to further their professional expertise and knowledge in physiotherapy
  • graduates or professionals who can clearly demonstrate how they will disseminate the benefit of their study and experience to the Victorian physiotherapy profession.

Applications open from 1 October, click here for details. The trust committee meets in December to assess applications, and the successful applicant will be announced on the APA website.

 

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