In March this year, fourth-year Physiotherapy student from James Cook University, Karis Moffatt, completed a three-week placement at Desert Therapy in Alice Springs, supported by the Flinders NT placement team at the Centre for Remote Health.
On her first day she attended the Introduction to Central Australian Aboriginal Cultures and Context workshop at the Centre for Remote Health. This provided an overview of cultural safety, practising in a remote context, history, cultural beliefs and traditions of Australian Aboriginal culture, and how to be respectful in a therapy session.
During her placement, Karis enjoyed spending time with those at Desert Therapy, Acacia Hill School and Bradshaw Primary School, building her knowledge and skills with children of all ages, adults with various neurological conditions and people living in remote Indigenous communities.
She learned how to provide fun, engaging and creative interventions for children of all ages, cultural backgrounds and disability levels, in various environments such as playgrounds, classrooms, bedrooms, school halls and hydrotherapy pools, using a variety of equipment.
Karis felt that she developed many new skills in response to challenges she faced during her placement including improved communication and manual handling skills. She believes that her professional practice benefited greatly and that she was able to extend her clinical skills and knowledge. ‘I was able to make a positive change to the children and adult clients that I treated by providing a holistic approach to the interventions I delivered under the guidance of my supervisor’, she says.
‘The team at Desert Therapy went above and beyond to make me feel welcome and supported both at the clinic and on weekends and I would welcome the opportunity to work with them sometime in the future’, says Karis.
Whilst disappointed that her placement was shortened due to COVID-19 restrictions, Karis was grateful that she was still able to achieve her placement learning goals.
Thank you for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at Desert Therapy in Alice Springs. It was an eye-opening, enjoyable and great learning experience that helped me transition from a student to a professional. Thank you to my supervisor, Anne Bent for being such a kind-hearted, down to earth and knowledgeable individual and from whom I learnt many valuable skills that will assist me in my career as a Physiotherapist.