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Virtual Hand Therapy Fellowship: My learning pathway from Chile

By: Alejandra Aguilera Godoy


Virtual Hand to Shoulder Fellow ‘20/’21

I am a Physiotherapist from Chile and have been working as a hand physiotherapist in a public trauma hospital in Santiago since the beginning of 2017. I was freshly out of university when I started working in hand therapy and although I had completed my thesis research in distal radius fractures, it did not prepare me for the caseload of severe injuries I had to see. So commenced my journey of continuous education, searching for better outcomes and ways to improve my treatment plan. I completed a graduate diploma in soft tissues manual therapy first, followed by small courses in upper extremity evaluation. However, there weren’t any specific courses within hand therapy in Chile. I tried to participate in as many free webinars as I could until I ran into Mirella organising an amazing talk with Dr Lalonde. During that webinar I heard about Virtual Hand Therapy Fellowship and the possibility to prepare myself to become a certified hand therapist.

My journey with Virtual Hand Therapy Fellowship began early this year and so far, it has been amazing. I am impressed on how I have grown into a better therapist. I feel like I can see a bigger picture with more details. I can identify certain problems that I was overlooking previously. I feel in a sense, that I have matured as a therapist by being aware of details that I just wasn’t seeing due to lack of knowledge. There were signs and symptoms that patients were referring, and I didn’t have an explanation, or I just wasn’t asking the right questions.

I am aware I still have a long way to go regarding knowledge, experience, and clinical reasoning, however, I do believe this fellowship has increased my level of confidence which in turn, has made my relationship with hand surgeons more fluent and direct. On the other hand, I have been able to assist certain patients in their recovery, in a way I just wasn’t able to do previously.

Lastly, I have been able to interact with other hand therapists and obtain useful information from their experiences. I feel I have entered a group where we are all trying to row into the same direction, strengthening even more, the knowledge that I can take from the lectures, readings, and guess speakers. Mirella is very dedicated and makes me feel comfortable sharing my own experience or even asking questions when I don’t understand something. She guides you within your learning capacities, and I am very thankful for this experience. #handtherapy#handtherapist #occupationsaltherapy#occupationaltherapist#physiotherapy#physiotherapist#physicaltherapy #handsurgery#handsurgeon



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