A day in the life of a PT working in the WA Goldfields…

By Alex Ellis

Alex is a Senior Physiotherapist. She is currently based in Perth, but spent several years in Kalgoolie, Western Australia. The story below is a 'normal' day for Alex: fracture clinic, meetings, seeing clients, PD, Netball and a drink at the local pub.


Leave home and make the 5 minute trek across the railway line to the physio department at Kalgoorlie Hospital. Get stopped at least four times to chat to staff and patients along the way (everyone loves a chat here).


After putting away lunch/bag, turn on computer and sift through the numerous emails which have strangely arrived between 4:30pm the day before, and now. These include anything from an HCN form to approve, a global email about a new policy/procedure which needs to be read, or a meeting request to be accepted/rejected.


Glance at the department diary and remember it’s Fracture Clinic day today. Get the equipment ready from theatre and ED and rearrange the department, as this morning the Orthopaedic Surgeon and his entourage see all their public clients post-fracture.

Busy, busy morning but a great opportunity to build rapport with the surgeon regarding protocols and best practice, and have some influence on the treatment of these clients (giving them supports/crutches, going through an exercise regime, or booking them in for an individual appointment). As an added bonus, there’s often bikkies or cakes on offer too, such is the confectionary-filled life of a doctor!


As Fracture clinic winds down, there’s time to see a couple of outpatients. These vary from an initial assessment of a cardiac rehab client, to a routine musculoskeletal client, or perhaps performing a pre/post nebuliser spirometry test on a client referred by their GP.


Lunch…finally. The 20+ allied health professionals all working at the site (both in the hospital and over the road at the Rural Paediatric Unit) come together to eat lunch in our ‘Therapy Activity Room’. This is the perfect time to chat about our day so far, plan social events, and generally forget about work for half an hour. Of course, one of us usually gets dragged away by a staff member or patient who just happens to ‘pop their head around the door’. 


The rest of the staff clear out of the room as the Head Of Department (HOD) meeting with the Allied Health Coordinator begins. Here we discuss any pertinent issues which can range from staffing levels and recruitment outcomes, upcoming promotional events, professional development opportunities, students, potential outreach visits, formation of business plans, etc.


Head down to maternity ward, check on any recent arrivals and go through postnatal education/treatment for any relevant mums (sometimes even scoring a baby hold!). Important information includes the pre/postnatal exercise classes we hold on and off site, and also the weekly Incontinence Clinic run by us, held at the local Women’s Health Care Centre.


Participate in arranged Performance Development with one of the ward physiotherapists. Spend an hour going through their achievements, goals, requirements based on the Rural and Remote Allied Health Professionals: Entry to Practice Competency Framework, and formulating their objectives and professional development needs for the next six months.


Somehow the emails have banked up again. Sift through and complete some admin duties (updating timetables and procedures manuals, arranging PD topics, setting meeting agendas, etc).


Home time! Make the 5 minute trek back home.


Meet up with the team aka 'All Saints', to take out the social ladies netball comp premiership at the local rec centre. Of course, we’re all workmates as well and even get some dedicated supporters who come down every week to cheer us on! Uniforms supplied courtesy of the ’07 WA Country Health Service Health Promoting Health Regions Grant.


All congregate at Judds (one of the 30+ local pubs) to celebrate our court prowess and another eventful and totally satisfying day in the life of a country allied health professional.