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Katie vine advanced practice physiotherapist

How Katie Vine Made The Jump From Sports Physiotherapy To Advanced Emergency Practice

Achieving the “right care, at the right place, at the right time” for our health services requires not only a paradigm shift in our approach to healthcare, but also the creation of new roles that can facilitate a robust and sustainable healthcare system. One such solution lies in the development of advanced practice roles, both in Australia and abroad.

We recently spoke to advanced practitioner Katie Vine, who works as an Extended Scope of Practice Physiotherapist in Canberra Health Services.

How did you become an advanced practitioner—how did you get started, and where has it taken you?

I’m a sports physiotherapist by background. I chose advanced emergency practice because I love the team environment—the part of physio I’ve always enjoyed the most is the “what’s wrong with you” part of the patient’s journey. Naturally the diagnostics and first line management required in emergency advance prcatice suits me perfectly.

I began working in Canberra Health Services (CHS) emergency department as an “in-scope” primary contact physiotherapist in 2010, and my evolution to becoming an advanced practice physiotherapist paralleled the expansion of the role within our department.

Due to the complex nature of the work, and the work-level standards and credentialing process in place through my career, my journey has required the completion a university master’s degree, a graduate diploma, as well as two additional university subjects.

I thoroughly enjoyed the formal and structured education I undertook, but also cherish the “on the floor” learning the role has facilitated.  I am thankful to the numerous staff specialists who have mentored, supported, and challenged me over the years. This combination of tertiary education and in-house credentialling forms the recognised and locally protected title of “Extended Scope of Practice Physiotherapist”.

What are some opportunities that you’ve had to really make a difference to patient or community outcomes?

I have had a great opportunity to share our local journey with other jurisdictions. In 2012-13 our department was chosen to be a lead-site for a Health Workforce Australia project looking to nationalise expanded scope roles for physiotherapists. I was able to work with three other emergency departments in developing their advanced practice. I have also worked with our professional association to establish standardised role expectations, education, and credentialing for advanced musculoskeletal physiotherapy roles.

What has been a defining event or highlight of your career?

Not sure I have one defining event, but every day I enjoy feeling like I am working to the full potential of what my (current) role can achieve, and I am aware that as healthcare needs change, there is likely further progress to be made.

How does the scope of practice for advanced physiotherapists in Australia compare to your colleagues in the UK?

I think we are still evolving our services here compared to the UK experience. In ED, we have made limited steps toward autonomous medication management, but there is progress across the country. I look forward to tackling injury management tasks such as suturing and other procedures.

What are the implications of advanced practice physiotherapy for primary care outcomes?

I think it is simple really, like most ambitions in public health care: Have the patient see the right clinician in the right place at the right time. It makes sense that musculoskeletal experts be available at the first line of primary care for their diagnostic skills and ability to ensure the patient’s next step in the healthcare system is the right one.

In terms of your experience as an advanced allied health practitioner, what would you like to see done differently?

I look forward to a time where we have a nationally recognised career pathway and importantly credential for advanced roles. It seems there have been many advanced practice “wheels” invented around Australia and these may all roll at a slightly different cadence.

What advice would you have for others providing care in a similar role?

Be patient and stay broad. I think even if you identify an area of advanced practice that appeals early in your career, you will do well to gain exposure to the breadth of what your profession offers before specialising.  That experience will definitely pay you back.

If you are an advanced allied health practitioner, or are considering such a career pathway, we encourage you to join our AHP Advanced Practice Collective, a community of practice to support advanced and consultant allied health practice. | Learn more about a national approach to advanced practice in allied health. | Join us for the Advancing Practice Across Australia Summit on Wednesday, March 6, 2024 at the Ann Harding Conference Centre, University of Canberra. This in-person event is a unique opportunity to connect with healthcare leaders and expand your knowledge of advanced clinical practice for the Allied Health, Nursing and Midwifery workforce.