Our first GEM stud

In late October, Josh Wong a final year student at Sydney Uni, started a 5 week practical with us. Josh is our first ever GEM (Graduate Entry Masters) student at Tan Hands, and he had the fun task of following our physios around, seeing what we do, and how we do it, and getting his hands on whenever was possible.

It was a little more cramped for space in our treatment rooms – but a really great fun 5 weeks of learning and teaching was had by all. I personally got a kick out of challenging Josh to think outside his Uni training – and also about telling patients how Josh was having some of the same injuries as them – with the same patients replying by telling Josh that he wasn’t old enough to have those pains! the final day meal and the demonstration of physio-touch required to split an egg tart by Cliff was a highlight tooimag0787a

Now over to a quick Q & A with Josh:

How did you enjoy your placement?
This placement was probably the most enjoyable out of the 4 I completed this year. Compared to the others, this one was of more interest to me, but at the same time more challenging. Everyday was a revelation to how much there is still to learn outside of uni as Derek and the other guys shared parts of their wealth of knowledge to me.

Most memorable experience/patient?
Hard to say what was the most memorable, but the one that seems to come to mind is when Derek dry needled a patient experiencing coccyx pain (literally, pain in the butt) from tight ischiococcygeus muscles. Those were the loudest screams during my 5 weeks.

What are two things you learnt?
Hard to narrow down the hundreds of things I learnt these few weeks down to two, but if I had to choose two meaningful ones to me they would be:
1. If we’re able to correctly identify the main problem (the primary driver) and apply proper treatment, effects of the treatment are often immediate, noticeable and longterm
2. Useful information is extremely important in patient diagnosis, and gathering this information can be done in so many more ways than just history taking. History taking is a skill in itself, but information can come from what we see, what we feel, patient response during and between treatments, and much more.

Any advice for future students?
As with any musculoskeletal placement, revising anatomy and common MS conditions would be helpful. Other than that, have an open mind for the different approaches that differ from what uni teaches and be prepared to be confused at the magic (or sorcery) that Derek and the other guys do.


All the best Josh with your future physio career, and thank you to all the patients who kindly let Josh practice on their bodies!

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