Westmead Hospital physiotherapy team leads way in research and education

Six physiotherapists at Westmead Hospital in Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) have all taken on PhD’s while also working as clinicians.

Melani Boyce, senior physiotherapist in neurosciences, has been employed at Westmead Hospital since 1998 and said having six members of a department undertaking higher degrees is rare.

“It’s common that a department might have one or two students undertaking a PhD, but six is special.  We have been extremely fortunate our leaders and managers have been so supportive of us doing research while maintaining clinical positions in physiotherapy at Westmead Hospital.”

Melani, Dragana Ceprnja and Nicole D’Souza have been doing their PhD’s for a few years while Tracey Clark, Cassandra Wong and Tiffany Sorial are new PhD students starting this year.

That’s very exciting for us and really impressive in terms of being able to produce research that’s clinically relevant to bring back into our department and into Westmead Hospital.”

Melani Boyce

Melani said education and research is vital to physiotherapy because “everything we do is evidence-based so someone has to produce that evidence, and we feel it’s important for clinicians to do that research because we have a bit more of an understanding of what’s required in the clinics”.

“We’re all clinicians at heart and it’s critical to be involved in research that’s important to us so that we can help our patients.”