Ciaran Mahood tells us that one of the biggest challenges of higher level study in physiotherapy was - getting started.
Because the achievement of physiotherapy Honours seemed a distant goal, he soon realised that he needed to break that down into a series of smaller and more manageable component parts.
Ciaran has applied this pragmatic approach to a series of complex ideas.
His research work to date reflects a growing interest in evidence-based practice.
On a recent hospital placement, he took part in the care of patients undergoing cardiothoracic surgery. Recovery from such serious surgery - including learning to breathe well - can be hard for patients. They must deal with the immediate realities of such interventions, and also the resultant physical limitations. Ciaran's research work led him to question the scope of the, at times limited advice given to recovering patients. These investigations lead him to think that a case-by-case approach to post-operative physiotherapy may be more effective for individual patients, and that all such advice needs to be evidence-based. He also believes that community education in self-care and management can deliver greater independence and lead to improved outcomes for patients and families.
He has documented his findings and presented them as part of the requirements for the achievement of Honours at the School of Physiotherapy. This experience gave him the confidence to present to a wider audience at the Cardiorespiratory Special Interest Group in Dunedin recently.
Looking back a little, Ciaran believes that he has managed to strike the right balance between the very real demands of higher level study, and enjoying a rewarding personal life. Honours study can be demanding, and there were times when he needed to get out beyond the surf break at St Clair to regain his sense of perspective.
The Honours programme has given Ciaran Mahood greater insight into the application of evidence-based practice to individual patient care.
While he has yet to form an ultimate plan for his career in physiotherapy, Ciaran tells us that it will include an educational dimension, helping those in our communities to lead more active and fulfilling lives.