My Global Learning

I have had the opportunity to learn rehab, exercise science and physiotherapy in two different countries. I did my bachelors in physiotherapy from India and my masters in exercise science from the US. While I have learnt a good deal from both my experiences, there are certain clear advantages of studying here in the USA that we still lack in India. The teaching styles are absolutely different and our Indian educational system surely has some catching up to do. Here are a few- Here’s how
o Emphasis on evidence based practice– during my bachelors a typical day in College entailed going over a particular topic from our prescribed textbook (sometimes written years ago) where in the professor would talk about it for an hour with some discussion. To me this was a little dry and had me ‘zone out’ in between classes often. What we learnt was often considered the gospel truth which I followed to the T without much question. All that changed as I set foot into my introduction class in my masters program. Here, for every class the professor came in with the latest peer reviewed literature and research papers which constantly challenged some of the archaic information present in books followed by a healthy debate to keep us engaged and thinking. Now I don’t suggest throwing away our required textbooks as the major chunk of the learning still comes from them but my point being this, always challenging or questioning our current knowledge and facts with new findings points to two thing- how little we still know and the fact that we are stepping in the right direction. Like one of my professors used to say- “they call it research for a reason, RE- SEARCH.” It must be a never ending process.
o Flawed testing– To add to this was our examination process which tested us on all we could memorize and how many pages we could write about the shoulder joint, disc prolapse, best rehab exercises etc in a long answer pattern. In my humble opinion, this does not test or train our thinking skills and this thinking-on-the-fly is what we will eventually do for the rest of our professional lives. It will be similar to detective work. Do you think this analogy is far fetched? After all every patient stepping in our clinic will be different and not everyone will have pain due to a bulging disc and external rotation theraband exercises are not a panacea for all shoulder problems. The American testing system from my masters to the NPTE board examination for physical therapy is all based on MCQ’s that will present itself with a situation and will have you critically analyze and come up with the most appropriate solution based on that unique situation. Sounds similar to the real world? If you plan to study in the US or take the board, understanding this now will work in your favor later.
o Experience- the average age of a 1st year BPT student in India is around 18 years. We are fresh of high school and frankly a little distracted because of our newly gained freedom and excitement and promise of a fun college life. Well!! It was at least for me. We are young and have no experience. Here it’s a different story. An entry level DPT student (yes they have done away with bachelors and masters) has to first clear prerequisite which means a lot of them go through a bachelors in exercise science and have worked as personal trainers, strength and conditioning coaches and exercise physiologists. One of the prerequisite also requires you to volunteer in a physical therapy clinic as a aide to get some perspective. They have been in the trenches for a few years, have trained clients and athletes. So the people who make it to PT school are highly motivated, more experienced and wiser than a fresh high school graduate.
I write these points not to demoralize or trash talk about our education system as it has got me where I am today but with the hope that it brings to you an epiphany moment like it did to me or a deeper realization of how we square off with the rest of the world and raise our bar.
Pursue excellence
Abhijit minhas

12 thoughts on “My Global Learning”

  1. Well written, i agree with observations but it will take some years before things change. Educationists as well as others will be the key drivers for the change…..

  2. Nicely written! Kinda summarizes the experience of every student who came to the USA or UK for their Masters.. 🙂

  3. I don’t think u need to post your analysis on an open blog. U are hurting Indian students by defaming the education system and reducing it’s validity on an international stage. Just because u got to where u wanted to me, it doesn’t mean u stand in the way of others who are pursuing the same. Write private letters to your old professors but don’t defame Indian education in America and give recruiters and educators reason to avoid therapists from India.

    1. Thanks for the reply, contrary to how you feel about my blog post it stands to empower Indian physios which I will ensure with this and my coming posts. I clearly state the shortcoming which I experienced first hand and only if we acknowledge them can we ever think about making a change for the better. I don’t know if you studied in the US but if you did do you disagree with my points? If yes i would love to know why. My blog page introduction states I am a new professional and it is wrong for you to assume I got ‘anywhere’ just because I am in the US. I have lots to learn and achieve. Finally, because its my blog those are my opinions and I definitely need to post them, just like you are entitled to have yours. Thats the whole purpose of creating this page in the first place. I can assure you american recruiters and educators will carefully review a persons resume and not make decisions on my views. Remember there is no right or wrong here its just individual views.

    2. I wanted to tell the anonymous writer(dated 9th Jul) that if we cover up things even when we notice them, it will only spoil the things further. Let us put our house in order, sooner the better. Do you really feel that employers are unaware of the the situation ? They see what what results our Physiotherapists are producing and accordingly they are selecting as well as paying them. The differential in valuation to some extent already exists. What I mean is that our demand is standing on our demonstrated performance so it should not deter us from analyzing and fixing our systems.

  4. Nitika Sharma.

    Hey Abhijeet !!
    I like your lucid writing style and it gives me a sense of budding writer in you .
    Since i am in physiotherapy profession i am reading and listening these statements that in India the approach of a PT to patient is very vague . It’s not meticulous.
    I would really appreciate if you could post the case discussion of few of the patients whom you have treated. That way we can refocus on the flaws and frailty , hidden in PT protocols followed by us in India.

    1. Hi nitika, first of thanks a lot. The article just states my approach when I was there in India and the things I saw around me, I cannot speak on behalf of an entire country. That would be just wrong. Having said that there are some concepts that I was introduced to after coming here which I had never heard of or seen anyone practice back home. To go through all of that in one reply wouldn’t be possible. My latest blog post touches on how I now try to assess and work differently and I will go in depth with individuals topics with new posts. Hang tight.

  5. it’s never too late to learn and improvise …infact learning is a life long process and why not try out methods & approaches which have had a major influence on one’s learning…Waitin for more Abhijit….

  6. Hey Abhijeet..
    it is nice to see you sharing something with us. I am a physiotherapist too. I too feel the old learning system should respectfully be changed as it will go on forever. We need to accept it sooner or later. As far as studies go. there will always be a major difference between national and international. this is a bitter reality. i hope abhijeet you can discuss more topics and clinical cases with their old and new concepts with exercise rehab, so we and the others who criticize should see the other side of the coin. to help our field grow and be true professional key players.
    Keep up the good job Abhijeet..
    Ajay Dherwani

    1. Ajay thanks for the comment. That’s my goal too. I did write an article about shoulder rehab on how my practice has changed over the years. Did you get a chance to see it yet? Well I’m just getting started and there is more to come. Thanks again!

  7. Thats why its called “Re search”..absolutely epic line! I must say you sure do know how to write and top it off with incredible punch lines! Fabulous writer akhi lol!!

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