The Active Rehab Foundation
The Active Rehabilitation Research Foundation aims to positively impact the lives of patients through the delivery of education activities. This involves providing physiotherapy and healthcare-related education and development activities for health professionals as well as providing education for ordinary people in Australian communities in need and in under-resourced countries.
One example of these activities is our established partnership with the University of Queensland (UQ) School of Physiotherapy, through which Active has delivered clinical education services in East Timor since 2015. In line with the University, our focus is on partnering with the Timorese healthcare workers to support sustainable and long-term outcomes for their patients and communities.
Active has had a long-standing commitment to the support of the people in Timor Leste over many years, and 2019 will be the fifth year of leading clinical education placements in Timor, in association with UQ.
We are delighted that we have now been able to cement the involvement of 2 Active Team members in the Timor Placement moving forward. Each year we will send a team member who has been on the Timor placement previously, due to the cultural importance of building ongoing relationships, in addition to one new team member, to strengthen our impact and provide additional opportunities team members to contribute.
Congratulations and best wishes to Lauren Griffin, who has been chosen to represent Active Rehab as Clinical Educator for UQ’s multi-disciplinary student placement in Timor in 2019. Lauren will be joined by Luke Fitzgerald who will return to Timor after his involvement in 2018.
We wish them all the very best in their preparations and in building their Tetun language skills!
Luke Fitzgerald’s experiences as a clinical educator in Timor Leste in 2018 were shared in this article below, published by the UQ School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (November 2018)
In May 2018 a group of physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech pathology students travelled to Timor Leste for a interprofessional education (IPE) placement accompanied by staff from UQ and volunteers from Active Rehabilitation Physiotherapy including John Fitzgerald, Practice Principal and Luke Fitzgerald, Physiotherapist and Weekend Team Leader.
We asked Luke to share his experiences
Describe the experiences of being a Clinical Educator in an IPE placement in Timor Leste.
My experiences in Timor Leste were, in a word – rewarding. I was afforded the opportunity to live mindfully and selflessly for four weeks, in what continues to be one of the world’s poorest countries. My thoughts and energies were completely directed towards the vastness of the Timorese peoples’ needs, and how I and our students could best direct our energies, towards being effective during our time here. The answer lay firmly within the university’s framework for the placement – working with the Timorese Health Care workers to effect lasting benefits.
What most surprised you about having students on this placement?
The placement fostered critical interprofessional learning and collaboration. Students readily took on this framework, enhancing their service delivery and, more importantly, modelled it for the Timorese Allied Health Team. I was impressed by the student’s clinical skills and by how quickly they were able to integrate, and to provide value to Timorese Allied Healthcare Workers and patients. My roll therefore was focused on enhancing self-reflection and critical thinking, interprofessional communication and in drawing the students towards the involvement of the Timorese Health Care Workers and parents and families.
What was the most challenging element about this placement?
I found it most challenging to accept the difference in work pace and to accept the limits of being able to effect change in just four weeks. Seeing so much need, and having the advantage of a first world allied health degree, it was hard not to jump in to every case and to try to solve everyone’s problems. Far more important was that we leave a legacy, imparting the knowledge from our privileged education, empowering them to affect lasting change. It was challenging to observe the Timorese management of some conditions, but this was overcome by their welcoming nature, and keenness to learn from us.
What was your greatest achievement or what did you find most valuable about the placement?
Our greatest achievement as team was to facilitate the ongoing progression towards best practice in Timor Leste. By working hard from the beginning to focus and refocus on imparting knowledge to the Timorese Healthcare Workers, via facilitating their patient assessments, treatments and recording, we saw real change in the treatment of patients within the four weeks that we were in country. Developing assessment tools for their ongoing use was particularly valuable.
What skills did you develop during this experience that were the most valuable for you?
The skills that I personally developed were far different to what I was expecting to gain from this experience. Being given models and frameworks with which to reflect on confronting experiences proved invaluable. Spending time discussing and reflecting on the challenges we had been faced with that day, allowed me, as an educator, to better understand what the students were going through, and how to help them through each hurdle. If not for this allotted debrief time, I have no doubt the placement wouldn’t have run as seamlessly as it did.
Active Rehabilitation Physiotherapy Physiotherapist