A passion to provide high quality care to children recovering from burn injuries is what drives occupational therapist Debra Phillips who is currently completing her Graduate Diploma in Burn and Trauma Rehabilitation at The University of Notre Dame Australia.
Mrs Phillips, a senior occupational therapist in paediatrics who currently works at The Townsville Hospital in Queensland, hopes the course will empower her to monitor service delivery and improve outcomes for every child they treat.
“A significant proportion of my work is the acute, post-acute and rehabilitation of young children following a burn injury. I work as part of a multidisciplinary team, including: nurses, physiotherapists, paediatric surgeons, dieticians and social workers. I find this work really rewarding and wanted to undertake postgraduate study to support evidence-based service delivery that is equitable to the services that children would receive in a tertiary referral paediatric burns unit,” Debra Phillips said.
The course is filling a worldwide gap in providing specialised postgraduate training for healthcare professionals and is delivered externally online through a collaboration between the Fiona Wood Foundation, Notre Dame’s School of Physiotherapy, Fremantle, and the University’s Institute for Health Research.
Based on the premise that rehabilitation starts at the time of injury, the course is designed to equip health care professionals with the expertise to have a positive impact on their patients through minimising scarring and optimising post-injury outcomes.
Currently there are no other postgraduate studies that specifically focus on the rehabilitation of burn injuries within Australia. The multimodal delivery of content from lecturers via YouTube, suggested readings, discussion boards and reflective journals allow for extensive consideration of the topic at hand,” Mrs Phillips said.
“The course work has been very engaging and challenging. I really enjoy the interaction online with both the lecturer and e-moderators, as well as the other students. Having other clinicians give their perspectives of care within their settings allows for a more comprehensive understanding of the content being explored,” she said.
Head of the Burn Injury Research Node, Associate Professor Dale Edgar, said the online course offers flexibility and will appeal to students working full-time or part-time in any location in the world.
“Asynchronous discussion techniques overcome the issue of time differences by and large so it doesn’t matter where students are in the world, they can access the content and benefit from discussions as long as they have an internet connection,” Associate Professor Edgar said.
“I am very proud of the extent of non-core skill exploration and higher level thinking that this first cohort of students have displayed. I could not have expected any better and look forward to the next group of students who will hopefully push the boundaries even further,” he said.
(Source: The University of Notre Dame- Australia)