Increase private practice exposure during physiotherapy undergraduate degree training

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More than 2 in 3 Physiotherapy graduates in Australia today are employed in private practice settings.

This has been a significant shift over the past 30 years, when the Physiotherapy degree was predominantly designed for graduates to work in hospitals throughout Australia.

The trouble is that, according to owners of physiotherapy private practice clinics Australia wide, the shift in employment from hospitals to private practice has not been accompanied by the equivalent shift in undergraduate training in physiotherapy degrees throughout Australia.

My name is Nick Schuster and I am the founder of a company called Ultimate Physio. We provider leadership, business and personal development education to physios and physio clinic owners. I curate an online community of 700+ Australian physio clinic owners.

The vast majority of our community believe that uni grads of physio degrees in Australia are underprepared for the demands of working in a private practice setting. This anecdotal evidence is supported by the results of a study by Dr Cherie Wells, who has studied the readiness of new graduates for private practice.

In a physio clinic the results of physiotherapy graduates being underprepared for private practice can be dire. Many business owners I interact with struggle to gain compliance from their new graduate employees, who have had no exposure to private practice and do not understand that they are operating in a private business and the challenges that come from operating in such a setting.

Our Ultimate Physio community believes that the solution needs to start with Universities who provide physiotherapy degrees recognising that there is a disconnect between what they are providing in their degrees, and what students need to be capable members of the workforce upon graduation.

Please sign our petition if you believe that change needs to occur at a University level by Universities acknowledging and taking action on implementing a higher emphasis on practical private practice training.

Some ideas include:


A mandatory private practice placement in the final prac year of an undergrad or graduate entry masters degree.

Involvement at a lecturer/prac supervisor level of local private practice owners, from the very beginning of the degree programme.

And a big picture idea is for a student to choose a hospital OR private practice stream before starting the final year of their degree.


To not be overtaken by unregulated businesses competing for the same clients as private physiotherapy clinics we need to develop an education pathway which readies physiotherapy graduates for what they will actually be doing when they find employment. Please do your part, and share this petition with your friends in the physio industry. Let's make the positive change we need to improve the future of our profession.

Note: for this petition to hold weight with relevant stakeholders please only sign the petition if you are an Australian registered physiotherapist, physiotherapy clinic owner, or physiotherapy student in Australia.