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All talk: Curtin popular in Norway!

In the second week of March, Rob Waller, Lecturer, School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, visited Norway to promote the faculty’s Masters of Clinical Physiotherapy postgraduate courses, which have enjoyed enduring popularity due to word-of-mouth recommendations.


Alumni enjoying a get together in Norway.
Alumni enjoying a get together in Norway.

In recent years, there has been a strong growth in international physiotherapists undertaking postgraduate study at Curtin. There have been 15 Norwegian students over the past two years reflecting the popularity of our course. Obtaining a Masters qualification significantly improves the scope of Physiotherapy practice in Norway and is recognised by allowing the use of the title ‘Manual Therapist’.

The Curtin Masters of Clinical Physiotherapy musculoskeletal major is currently the only Australian course to be recognised by the Norwegian Manual Therapy Association, which is partially due to the research component of the course.

Rob in Norway.
Rob in Norway.

Rob Waller’s visit started in Bergen, where he visited Bergen University College and Professor Alice Kvale. Professor Kvale has previously collaborated with Curtin supervising a very successful randomised controlled trial (RCT) in cognitive functional therapy using participants with non-specific chronic low back pain.

There was also a meeting with Kjartan Fersum at Bergen University, who was the first Norwegian physiotherapist to complete a Masters in Clinical Physiotherapy at Curtin in 1999. His subsequent PhD project was the aforementioned RCT.

Both Alice and Kjartan supervise the examination process required to become a Manual Therapist in Norway, and there was some useful discussion around the process.

Additionally, while in Bergen, Rob had a meeting with an agent who helps to recruit students to Curtin.

Rob spoke to physiotherapists who are interested in studying at Curtin.
Rob spoke to physiotherapists who are interested in studying at Curtin.

Afterwards, Rob travelled to Oslo to meet with two more recruitment agents and talk to physiotherapists who are interested in study at Curtin. There was strong interest expressed in future study at Curtin, driven largely by word of mouth from previous students.

A meeting with the Norwegian Manual Therapy Association was very productive and informative, with everyone learning more about each other’s systems and processes.

Rob presenting Veronica Solvig with her Mona Twomey Prize.
Rob presenting Veronica Solvig with her Mona Twomey Prize.

The last day in Olso involved attending an alumni event with more than 20 past postgraduates. In 2016, Norwegian students Veronica Solvig and Ingrid Ovrebekk were awarded the Mona Twomey Prize (best postgraduate research project) and Max Zusman Award (highest mark in Advanced Management of Pain Disorders) respectively. Rob was honoured to present Veronica her award, while Ronnie Risnes (2016 graduate) accepted Ingrid’s award in her absence.

Rob enjoying Norway's beautiful scenery.
Rob enjoying Norway's beautiful scenery.

Luckily there was some time to play in Norway as well with Rob managing to hike up to Floyen for a scenic view of Bergen on a very rare clear but cold day. In Olso he was taken for his first ever cross-country ski by Kristine Sandvik (Curtin Manipulative Therapy graduate 2010 and Sports Major 2015), who enjoyed reversing the teacher/student role.

Contributed by: Rob Waller, Lecturer, School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science.