Early Links Supporting Inclusion

Meet our physiotherapy students

Meet our physio students
Nate Physio Team Leader

By Nathaniel Abrahamse

Team Leader Physiotherapy


Throughout the year, Early Links hosts numerous university students as they complete their degree placements. Students join our OT, Speech Pathology, Social Work, and Physiotherapy teams (to name a few) and learn from our knowledgeable team members. I sat down with two of our recent Physiotherapy students, Simone and Sydney, and asked them about their placement experience.

Why did you choose to study Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours)?

Simone: I have always been interested in learning about the anatomy and physiology of the human body. After school, I started working in the fitness industry and became a remedial massage therapist. After a year of massaging, I realised I still wanted to know more and to be able to treat more complex clients, so I took the plunge and enrolled in uni.

Sydney: I always knew I wanted to study health, and my goal was to get into a Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science. However, after a day of work experience at an imaging clinic, I realised it wasn’t for me. Towards the end of school, I started looking at other options and thought I’d try physiotherapy.

You’re in your final year at the University of Newcastle. What have you enjoyed most about your time at uni?

Simone: Learning from knowledgeable educators! I have found their passion and expertise in their chosen speciality area very inspiring.

Sydney: Overall, I’ve most enjoyed my time with the University’s Department of Rural Health. I’ve been fortunate enough to have had two rural placements during my study and had great experiences working with educators and students from various degrees.

Would you recommend this placement to someone else?

Simone: Yes! It has been great to get to know the clients over an extended period. I have noticed I have been able to see improvements in clients that I haven’t had a chance to witness in other placements due to time constraints. Oh, and everyone is lovely!

Sydney: Absolutely! I would highly recommend this placement to anyone looking to get into paediatrics. The Physio team (particularly Nate and Ally) have provided so many learning opportunities through tutorials, our student project and allowing us to manage a small caseload on our own. Everyone has been so welcoming, and Early Links has a great team culture. It’s a great learning environment!

Physiotherapy Student Simone

Physiotherapy Student, Simone

What are some new skills that you have learned?

Simone: I’ve learnt how to write reports, communicate with different clients, do a team consultation for a client, lots of activity ideas for paediatric sessions, knowledge of paediatric equipment, and manual handling techniques to increase/decrease support when helping clients through exercise.

Sydney: I’ve gained skills in conducting neurological, orthopaedic, and gross motor assessments and standardised assessments like the Movement ABC, BOT-2 and AIMS. I’ve had the opportunity to develop treatment sessions that work towards individual patient goals, and I’ve also gained skills in NDIS report writing and working/communicating within a trans-disciplinary team.

What have you liked most about your time at Early Links so far?

Simone: Getting to know the clients – they make me laugh! Seeing clients complete a skill you have been working on, and also having the time to do admin and not have to rush through appointments.

Sydney: I really enjoy working with the kids and finding creative ways to incorporate their interests into physical activity. I also really liked my time working on our student project. We were required to develop a multidisciplinary preschool program and had a lot of fun coming up with ideas for integrating activities across a different theme each week. The program was received well and, overall, was an enriching experience.

Physiotherapy Student Sydney

Physiotherapy Student, Sydney

What are your career goals?

Simone: To continue to improve my skills in paediatric physiotherapy! As a dancer, I will also be adding dance physio to my repertoire, and I hope to help many talented young dancers through their early dance careers.

Sydney: I would like to continue working in paediatrics. I would love to work in a children’s hospital at this stage. However, I am also very interested in working in a community setting, as I have thoroughly enjoyed this throughout my placements.

What drives your passion for continuing to help others?

Simone: I hope that my skills as a future physiotherapist will positively impact the quality of life of my clients. I believe everyone should be allowed to work towards their goals and get the most out of their life. They might just need some help along the way.

Sydney: It’s gratifying to see the progress adults/children can make with physiotherapy input. It’s been fantastic to see people achieve goals across my placements this year, which really influences my drive to continue helping.

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