- First physiotherapy student cohort trained at Charles Sturt University in Port Macquarie have graduated
- 42 physiotherapy graduates completed the four-year degree
- Graduates to address major allied health gaps in Mid North Coast and across regional Australia
After four years of study, the first physiotherapy cohort to train at Charles Sturt University in Port Macquarie have graduated.
The 42 students from the inaugural cohort were conferred with the University’s Bachelor of Physiotherapy on Friday 4 December.
Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy in the Charles Sturt School of Community Health in Port Macquarie Dr Cherie Wells said it has been an absolute pleasure and privilege training the campus’s first physiotherapy cohort, and she is excited to see the impact the graduates will have on allied health in regional areas.
“I have been involved in setting up several Bachelor of Physiotherapy programs at other universities, and always find that first cohort holds a special place in your heart,” Dr Wells said.
“We invest a lot of our time and energy into our students and we love seeing students learn, grow, and develop as people and as health professionals.
“I am excited to see where our physiotherapy graduates end up, and the impact they will have on Port Macquarie and wider communities.”
Dr Wells said the physiotherapy course was established to address gaps in the allied health workforce in rural and regional areas, including Port Macquarie.
In 2019 the National Rural Health Alliance called on the Federal Government to immediately address the critical shortage of allied health professionals in rural, regional and remote Australia, requesting funding for an additional 3,000 allied health care professionals.
“Physiotherapy services are vital for optimising movement and function across the lifespan and can assist in health and wellbeing of people of all ages,” Dr Wells said.
“There is a high demand for health care services in the Mid North Coast, particularly given the high proportion of older Australians, and also the increase in people electing to move out of metropolitan areas into the region.
“It is so important that regional communities have access to high quality health services and recognise the value Charles Sturt University has added to Port Macquarie, where students can study physiotherapy without leaving home.
“We know that students from a regional background tend to stay and work in a regional area, and that employers can struggle to recruit health professionals in regional areas.”
One of Charles Sturt’s inaugural Port Macquarie physiotherapy graduates, Ms Georgia White, who has secured a job at PhyxYou Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation in Port Macquarie, said she decided to pursue a physiotherapy career because she was always interested in sports and health, and could study it in her hometown.
“I had heard great things about Charles Sturt University, and I thought being in the first physiotherapy cohort at Port Macquarie was pretty exciting and a great opportunity,” Ms White said.
“Our physiotherapy cohort was only small, so we were a very close bunch.
“We’re very lucky to have had the physiotherapy course taught in Port Macquarie and I am sure it only will get stronger and stronger as the years go on.
“The on-campus facilities were great, and we had such great lecturers who were always willing to go above and beyond for us.”
The inaugural graduating cohort held a small private celebration at Rydges Port Macquarie to mark their graduation.