It was his placement experience in his rural hometown of Ayr that Kieran says was especially valuable.
“I was expecting the hospital in Ayr to be a bit slow, but I was very wrong. It was actually really busy as there's only one physio in the hospital covering both inpatients and outpatients. I managed to learn the most from this placement because you have to be such a generalist; You've got to have knowledge ranging from paediatrics to musculoskeletal disorders to geriatrics.”
Another standout experience for Kieran was his first placement experience, at the orthopaedics ward at Queensland Children's Hospital in Brisbane.
“There was one patient that I'll never forget, because he had such an impact on me too. It was a 12-year-old boy who had major surgery for a slipped upper femoral epiphysis, which meant he had to be non-weight bearing in a wheelchair for 12 months. He was really withdrawn at first, but over time he warmed up to me and would want to race in the hallway in his wheelchair or go outside to shoot basketball together.”
“I actually had no idea physios were in hospitals before starting my studies, and it really opened my eyes as to how important physios can be for a patient’s recovery.”
Kieran also says he feels well-equipped and graduate ready thanks to the numerous volunteer patient experiences that have featured throughout the JCU physiotherapy degree.
“Starting from first-year, after learning about massage we are paired up with another student to get some experience at the JCU massage clinic. Then in third-year, we had volunteer patients coming in for our neurology subject, post stroke patients, for example, and we were able to work with them. Learning from those types of patients before we went on placement later in third-year was really beneficial. I have also been on observational placements at the JCU musculoskeletal clinic where we got to shadow the fourth year students and do some treatments with them.”