4 September 2013

Injecting a ‘breath of fresh air’ into cardiorespiratory physiotherapy education has placed a University of Queensland lecturer among the best in the country.

Dr Allison Mandrusiak of the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences is one of three UQ staff who have received Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning in the 2013 Australian Awards for University Teaching.

Dr Mandrusiak will receive a $10,000 prize at the Queensland Citation Awards ceremony in Brisbane on 24 September.

She said she was honoured to be recognised for her efforts to stimulate student interest in the study of cardiorespiratory physiotherapy.

“When I was a physiotherapy student, I had no intention of pursuing a career related to the cardiorespiratory field,” she said.

“Although I found its medical nature inherently interesting, I thought the style of course delivery was difficult to relate to, content was challenging to consolidate and, with no exposure to ‘real life’ contexts, I found the transition from campus to clinic daunting.

“However, when I entered the clinical world, my eyes were opened to the enjoyment of working in this rewarding field.”

This experience led Dr Mandrusiak into cardiorespiratory physiotherapy education at UQ, where she transformed the curriculum to create a stimulating learning and teaching experience.

She does this through innovative teaching strategies designed to make cardiorespiratory ‘fun’ for students at both an undergraduate and Masters level.

“Based on my own experience and student feedback, I realised that the best way to engage students and reduce trepidation around this field is to expose them to their role as physiotherapists in a safe clinical environment,” she said.

“To achieve this, I transform the classroom into clinics, where students receive hands-on, ‘real life’ experience through simulations and other innovative techniques.

“It’s about making the experience as enjoyable and productive as possible for students, and ultimately producing excellent clinicians who are inspired to work in this field.”

And the results of Dr Mandrusiak’s hard work speak for themselves.

Not only does she continue to receive positive student feedback, Dr Mandrusiak was also awarded the 2012 Faculty of Health Early Career Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning.

Staff are encouraged to apply for the 2013 Faculty Awards, details can be found at www.uq.edu.au/health/awardsandgrants

Media Contact: Kirsten O’Leary, Media and Communications, The University of Queensland Faculty of Health Sciences, 07 3346 4713, 0412307594 or k.oleary@uq.edu.au