Going Rural Health Student Spotlight - Mateo Glavan

Meet Mateo Glavan - a University of Melbourne and Going Rural Health student completing his Doctor of Physiotherapy. We spoke to Mateo about his rural placement experience and whether it was worth his while.

Mateo completed a physiotherapy placement at Aquamoves in Shepparton for a total of five weeks. Going Rural Health supported Mateo throughout his time in Shepparton with local area knowledge, mental health support and general placement communications. Read more about what Mateo's thought of his rural journey below.

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Pictured above: Mateo Glavan with war veteran and patient, ... at Aquamoves in Shepparton.

Q. How long was your placement at Aquamoves in Shepparton and what were the main tasks it involved?

My placement at Aquamoves lasted five weeks. Each week consisted of two clinic days and two research and planning days. The clinic days involved assessing and treating clients whilst being supervised by a physiotherapist from GV Physiotherapy Centre. In contrast, the research and planning days involved no interaction with clients; instead, I would prepare for the ‘Move with Mates’ sessions which were held on Fridays. ‘Move with Mates’ was a pilot study which assessed the feasibility of establishing a group-based exercise program for veterans. The program comprised of weekly one hour exercise class, followed by a thirty minute coffee session. The aim of these sessions was to encourage veterans to become physically active and to socially interact with other veterans.

Q. Was this your first rural placement or had you had experience in a similar community prior?

This was my very first university placement. I also had no experience in a similar community, since I had never travelled to a rural location before.

Q. What was your overall opinion on the placement?

Prior to the placement, I was extremely excited since I knew this would be a great opportunity to experience what it would be like to be a part of the rural community. Overall, the placement was fantastic. My supervisors and the staff at Aquamoves were welcoming and well organised. My supervisors were very supportive and constantly challenged me. I viewed them more as mentors, rather than supervisors, as their attitude and knowledge was inspiring. The placement provided me with real life experience of what it would be like to work as a physiotherapist in private practice; it reflected the kind of environment I would like to be a part of in the future.

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Q. Did you enjoy being in Shepparton during your placement?

Shepparton was the ideal location for my first rural placement. The beautiful countryside provided me with opportunities to wind down and relax after long days of work. Most evenings I would go for a walk along a waterway, accompanied by the amazing sunny weather. The locals were friendly and I was always greeted, with some locals even recommending particular walking trails. Another aspect of Shepparton that I enjoyed was that, unlike metropolitan areas, Shepparton has significantly less traffic and everything I needed was in near proximity to Aquamoves.

Q. Do you think there were skills you learnt in your rural placement that maybe you couldn’t have had the opportunity to explore elsewhere?

The skill of interacting with people in a community setting. Many of the clients at Aquamoves knew each other and so it was interesting to observe and engage in their conversations. At first I felt out of place, but towards the end of my placement I was able to relax more and enjoy friendly conversations which were not necessarily related to the patient’s case. I learnt that some patients valued and required an interesting and genuine conversation above any physiotherapy treatment.

Q. How were the Going Rural Health team like to deal with in terms of support? Did you feel supported enough?

I was regularly contacted by members of the Going Rural Health team. This gave me a sense of support, as I knew someone was continuously monitoring my wellbeing and that there was someone I could talk to if I required any help. I was very impressed with my initial interaction with the team; They sent welcoming emails which contained useful information, such as good places to shop for cheap groceries and a map of the area.

Q. Can you see yourself potentially pursing a career in a rural setting in the future?

I never considered working in a rural setting, however after such a positive experience I would prefer to kickstart my career in a rural setting. The rural setting would offer me the opportunity to work in a highly collaborative environment. Hence, it is an optimal place to learn and develop not only as a health professional, but also as a person".

Find out more about Going Rural Health and how they might help you at the link below.

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