Minh Vu is a physiotherapist in Stawell, Victoria and a recent competitor in the Stawell Gift, one of the world’s most famous footraces. Looking back on his journey, Vu recounts the roadblocks, as well as the highlights, of his journey.
Tell me briefly about your journey as a physiotherapist and how you came to work at Stawell Regional Health.
My journey as a physiotherapist has been a bit bumpy. Given evidence is evolving all the time, I’ve realized that it is quite difficult to bridge the gap between research and clinical practice. I’ve changed my way of practice to account for this by abandoning all manual / hands-on techniques such as massage, joint mobilisation and dry needling. In my practice, I am focusing solely on education, getting patients moving and to be more active through exercises. This approach may not sound like physiotherapy at all, but that’s where the evidence is at the moment.
I had always wanted to work in a hospital setting during my final year of university. I couldn’t find anything in Melbourne so I looked outside of Melbourne and found the ad for Stawell. When I applied I didn’t even know where Stawell was! I had to look it up on Google maps afterwards.
And you were a recipient of the Relocation Grant – Allied Health and Nursing Professionals. Why was it important for you to apply for this grant?
It was important for me to apply for this grant as it gave me the financial support which helped ease the transition from a metropolitan to a regional area, tremendously. I also appreciated the ongoing check-ups to make sure things are going ok.
Would you recommend others undertake the grant application process? Why?
I would recommend others to undertake this grant thanks to its financial and emotional support.
I heard that you recently competed in the Stawell Gift, Australia’s most prestigious footrace. Can you draw any parallels/similarities between what it takes to run this race and what it takes to work as a health professional in rural/regional Victoria?
There are some parallels between running the Stawell Gift and working in rural Victoria. I train with a running group in Ararat every week and although the races are individual events, we train together and help each other perform our best. This is similar to working here, we do our work separately but we’re part of the allied health team and everyone supports everyone. Another similarity is a lack of high-end facility. There are no big gyms and training facility around so for training we have to make do with what we have and improvise. Similarly, our hospital is small so we have to find ways to work around that.