Physical Therapy students take Global Internship Experience at two Thai universities

In line with its vision to be an internationally acknowledged educational institution of experts producing nationalistic and globally competitive Thomasian leaders in the field of rehabilitation sciences, the College of Rehabilitation Sciences (CRS) Department of Physical Therapy sent four BS Physical Therapy students in their 5th year, namely, Bianca Catherine Bongco, Rheine Christine Canlas, Zacharie Fuentes and Micah Tobia held for almost a month towards the end of 2018. They were accompanied by faculty member Mr. Christopher G. Cruz to St. Louis College (SLC), Thailand.

Various educational and recreational activities that included lecture series, community and clinical practice and cultural immersion activities were provided to the group. One of its highlights is the Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) program of SLC which helped the students, under the guidance of their faculty members, to develop their clinical reasoning as well as their creativity in diagnosing and treating patients who cannot seek medical consultation due to financial and transportation issues. A referral system was developed so that students can transfer patients to other healthcare professionals when the problem of the patient was beyond the scope of physical therapy practice. The experience allowed the group of Thomasian physical therapy students to further understand their roles in the communities.

The interns also obtained additional insights through lectures and demonstration by SLC faculty members specializing in their respective fields like the Voltja practice in pediatric rehabilitation, Schroth techniques in scoliotic patients and lymphatic drainage technique in patient suffering with edema. In return, Mr. Cruz also shared his expertise in the field of cardiopulmonary physical therapy to the students of SLC.

Also, four UST students in their fifth year under the Physical Therapy program went on a month-long internship called the Global Internship Experience (GIE) that commenced on January 6, 2019 at the Mahidol University, Thailand.

The students, namely, Lia Carmella Silvestre, Gian Karlo Reyes, Diana Liezel Mosqueda, and Margaret Damatac, were accompanied by the College of Rehabilitation Sciences Internship Supervisor Ms. Fe Therese Chavez.

After the orientation and campus tour at the Salaya Campus of Mahidol University facilitated by faculty member Ms. Mind Pimpawee, the UST CRS students were given the opportunity to observe and learn the practice of physical therapy in various disciplines including Pulmonary Rehabilitation at Sriraj Hospital, Bangkok, Community Based Rehabilitation with Prof. Sasithorn and Prof. Thanwarat. They also learned to use the Biodex Isokinetic machine and Evaltech, as well as the Gait Analysis system, in a physical therapy clinic in Mahidol’s Pinklao Campus with Prof. Yoswasin and Prof. Komsak.

In the community, the group had the chance to observe a house designed with innovations done for the patient using current available materials in order to maximize its function. During the second week, the interns were divided into two teams and rotated to different fields and observed cases on orthopedic, neurologic and pediatric cases. The UST students also learned about hydrotherapy, fitness, and scoliosis.

CRS faculty member Chavez, was able to observe the different technologies that post-graduate students use for research. She was also able to observe the in-patient department and stroke unit at Sriraj Hospital.

The participants consider the Thai GIE as a wonderful experience being exposed to the practice of Physical Therapy in Thailand. They also observed that the set-up in the two countries were different, since they had direct access for Physical Therapy. They also realized that Filipinos should be more proactive in terms of their profession and be able to do much more for the Filipino community in improving the profession.

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