Congratulations on completing your A levels! If you are considering physiotherapy as a lifelong career and would like to know more on what life as a physiotherapy student in Singapore entails, you’ve come to the right place. This marks the start of a series of posts on our experiences in NYP physiotherapy with heavy emphasis on the first year, primarily because the 5th SPSC only comprises of Year 1s. It’s written from our individual perspectives as aspiring physiotherapists and represent our own personal views. Please do not reproduce or replicate any part of these posts without express written permission of the 5th SPSC. Hope all you aspiring physiotherapists find the posts helpful and illuminating. Enjoy!
Hello people :),
What are the contents that are included in our curriculum to cultivate the awesome future physiotherapists in NYP?
In NYP, we learn primarily via lectures, tutorials and practical sessions. It’s not too different from JC, but we definitely have less tutorials and much more practicals. Unlike our university counterparts, our timetables are fixed and the modules are fixed for us except for this little thing called general studies module. But you will know more about it when you’re here. (;
In Year 1, the focus is to get ourselves oriented with the fundamentals of physiotherapy so the modules cover the basics such as human anatomy, human physiology, human biomechanics (yes.. Physics), foundations in physiotherapy, psychology and sociology. In Year 2, also informally known as the hectic year, things start to get busier, and our curriculum would encompass learning physiotherapy in depth by learning about the different specialties such as cardiopulmonary physiotherapy, neuroscience physiotherapy, musculoskeletal physiotherapy. In addition, we also take other modules that complement and enhance our learning such as research methods, neurophysiology, communication and medical sociology, developmental and neuropsychology and exercise prescription.
We will be expected to be competent enough in our clinical skills as we start to see patients under close supervision. By Year 3, there will be even more specialised modules such as pediatric physiotherapy, physiotherapy in gerontology, exercise prescription and the continuation of cardiopulmonary, musculoskeletal and neuroscience physiotherapy. Most notably, we would be required to work on our final year project that spans a year long while juggling clinical attachments during the semestral period. I hope I’m not scaring away any potential physiotherapist! This is to give you a clear overview of what life would be like for you once you make your commitment to be a part of the physiotherapy community.
Clinical attachments are held during the semestral period as well as the vacation period. During the course of the 3 years, we would be required to fulfill a minimum of 1000 hours of clinical attachment. (Woah!) Doesn’t that sound overwhelming? If you do the maths, it is actually a minimum of 125 days and approximately 25-26 weeks. In Year 1, we would undergo a week of clinical attachments to have a glimpse of a typical week in the hospital for a physiotherapist. Subsequently, from Year 2 to Year 3, it will increase to approximately 3-5 weeks per clinical attachment whereby you will have first-hand interaction with the patients. Not to worry, during each clinical attachment, you will be under the supervision of a qualified and experienced clinician. Therefore, be sure to make full use of every clinical attachment to tap on the experiences of the clinicians and to hone your practical skills.
By the end of the 3 years in NYP, I believe that each and every individual will be empowered with the knowledge of the various assessment and rehabilitation techniques used for different conditions in the different clinical settings. For example, we learn how to handle patients with various physical impairments through the use of therapeutic exercises and equipment to manage pain and improve their functional abilities. Modules such as psychology and sociology allows us to have a holistic understanding from the perspective of the patients in order to best prescribe the most suitable treatment that is more personalised.
What does a typical day look like?
Sometimes we start off the day as early as 8am in the morning, and if you are lucky enough, there will be a few days whereby school starts in the afternoon around 12pm for you. The buzzing sound of conversations among students comes to an end when the lecturer walks in. From a million bees, we turn into quiet little angels listening attentively to the increasingly high amounts of information shoved at us daily. Many a times, we walk out of these lecture halls wondering, “Hey! What just happened?”. But no worries, practical lessons always come in handy to clear all our doubts and truthfully speaking, that’s my most favorite time of the day the hands-on session. Typically that’s a brief summary of what happens in a day.
Lastly, let me end off with this phrase that spurs me on everyday.
“Although this journey is seemingly stressful and tiresome at times, but the satisfaction of seeing patients recover their functional ability, be free from pain is invaluable and worthy of every single effort out in.”