Volunteer Physical Therapists in Samoa
- POSITION: Physiotherapist
- PLACEMENT LOCATION: Apia
- REQUIREMENTS: Degree in Physical Therapy or a related subject
- ACCOMMODATION: Host family
- LENGTH OF PLACEMENT: From 2 weeks
- START DATES: Flexible
In Samoa we work with a number of organizations that care for children and adults with various physical disabilities. There is a real lack of qualified physical therapists in Samoa, which is why your skills will be so appreciated.
How can volunteer physical therapists help in Samoa?
As a volunteer physical therapist you will be working at a single placement or a variety of care placements. This may be a special education school, hospital, the Society for Disabilities, or the Samoa Victim Support Group. You will be based in and around Apia, the capital of Samoa.
All of the partners that Projects Abroad work with support vulnerable groups of people. The placements aim to provide a better quality of life for the children and adults that struggle with disabilities. The staff at the placements encourage participation from the families and members of the wider community, to ensure that the patients can have a more active and fulfilling role within the community in which they live.
There is a lack of qualified professionals in this field, so your physical therapy skills and experience will be invaluable. You will have the opportunity to:
- Conduct assessments, analysis, planning, and treatment of patients.
- Evaluate patient conditions and adapt treatments accordingly.
- Educate teachers, family members and caregivers about conditions, prognosis, and home exercise programs.
- Help identify training needs of local physical therapists.
- Assist with training, advising and supporting local physical therapists in the management of patient care, as well as self-learning and research activities.
You will work from 20–35 hours a week (Monday to Friday), and sometimes out of hours depending on the individual project and how you develop your role with your project supervisor.
This project runs all year. Volunteers are required to join this project for a minimum of 8 weeks.
What will I gain from this project?
You will be involved with a friendly and highly dedicated team who are committed to the service they provide. Working with often limited resources and staff lacking technical knowledge and training you will be able to adapt and develop your existing expertise to a different working environment. You will often face challenges not experienced in your home country. Through this cultural exchange you will learn different methodologies and techniques in your own discipline.
You will also have the opportunity to develop skills and experience in a wide variety of areas. These could be (and are project dependent):
- Assessments of individuals with physical disabilities or injuries, and using your expertise to suggest alternative treatment techniques (where appropriate).
- Assessment of the systems in place at the project, and suggest ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
- Holding workshops with family and community members to educate and train on techniques for caring for people with physical disabilities or injuries.
- Using your expertise to train staff and other volunteers.
- Using your initiative to identify, set up, and manage new projects/programs.
- Collaborating with project partners to improve systems for monitoring existing or new projects/programs.
- Creating and/or developing evaluation reports for projects or individuals to help with continuity between volunteers.
For anyone who specializes in sports physical therapy, there is an opportunity to work with the Samoa Rugby Union, where you will work alongside the team’s head physical therapist. Please contact us for more information.
All of these can provide you with valuable experience and transferable skills useful for your career, and make valuable use of your existing expertise where it is truly needed.
What will Projects Abroad provide?
We have over 20 years’ experience of running volunteer projects. We provide you with the following support to make sure your time in Samoa is successful and enjoyable:
- Safe accommodation with a host family close to your place of work.
- Friendly and dedicated local staff available to help 24 hours a day.
- A friendly member of staff available to meet you on arrival at the airport.
- Medical and travel insurance.
What skills or qualifications do I need?
If you have at least a degree in Physical Therapy or a closely related subject then you will be suited for this project.
Ideally, a qualified physical therapist would also possess at least two years’ experience of practicing professionally, however any experience will be appreciated and even recent graduates will be able to share their knowledge while gaining practical experience.
Please contact us if you think your knowledge may be useful on this project but do not have the required qualifications.