Physio student wins national award

Final year Master of Physiotherapy student Victoria Quaini has won the 2021 Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) Board of Directors Student Prize.

This prestigious award recognises a highly motivated, leadership-focused student who inspires others and makes a significant contribution to the APA.

“I know there are probably a lot of deserving candidates, so it was super exciting to hear the news about my award,” Victoria says.

A diligent student, Victoria’s outstanding involvement in extracurricular activities has set her apart.

“The enthusiasm and passion she’s shown for physiotherapy above and beyond her day-to-day study encouraged me to nominate her,” Associate Professor Lucy Lewis says.

Victoria is notable for the many ways she gives back to the community. In addition to volunteer roles with Edmund Rice Camps SA and Muscular Dystrophy SA, and having pre-COVID roles in South-East Asian healthcare settings, Victoria belongs to the University’s Rural Health, Global Health and Women’s Health societies.

“As a committee member in the Rural Health Society, I visited multiple rural towns to teach high school students about physiotherapy,” she says.

Victoria with friends Leah and Rachel at the inaugural Flinders Physiotherapy Ball in July 2021

Victoria co-founded the Flinders Physiotherapy Student Association, served as co-president, and helped organise the inaugural Physiotherapy Ball this year, which attracted more than 150 attendees.

She also contributed to the Master of Physiotherapy mentoring program and helped establish other social opportunities for students studying the discipline, which was first offered by Flinders in 2012.

Associate Professor Lewis says Victoria’s win should be an inspiration for all Flinders’ Physiotherapy students.

“It’s such a fantastic achievement for Victoria, but also for our relatively new program to have a final-year student win this national prize,” she says.

Victoria hopes she can meet, network and collaborate with other physiotherapists as a result of her award.

“The award gives me confidence that I can help and make differences that improve people’s healthcare experiences, all around Australia.”

Placements made Victoria’s studies special

Victoria says multiple placements in both metropolitan and regional settings stand out as highlights during her studies at Flinders.

“I have met some really talented physios who are very passionate about their work and go above and beyond to optimise their patients’ care,” she says, noting that her favourite placements included the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, services on the Eyre Peninsula, and Royal Darwin Hospital.

Victoria during her placement at Royal Darwin Hospital

Victoria also did a stint with Health2Go at Flinders’ Sturt Precinct, where she enjoyed being exposed to neurological and paediatric presentations and the extra time she had to discuss cases with her tutors.

“I thought this was a really good opportunity to see how a private practice runs and what types of patients one might see beyond uni,” she says. “I was able to work with patients experiencing knee, back, ankle, calf, shoulder, neck and jaw pain.

Health2Go Business Manager David Jacobs says “It’s a placement which allows them to really match up what they’re learning with what they can deliver.”

The Flinders community is being encouraged to support students like Victoria by booking an appointment.

“It’s a low-cost, high-quality service, so if you’re in the need of physio services, the more people we refer into the clinic, the more placement experience we can provide for our students,” David says.

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