HEALTH met with Dr. Praveen Kumar Kandakurti, Associate Dean and Assistant Professor of Physiotherapy and Sports and Musculoskeletal Physical Therapist at Gulf Medical University (GMC) Hospital in Ajman to learn more about the College of Allied Health Sciences.
All About Physical Therapy
Q. What are the practical applications for physical therapy?
Dr. Kandakurti: Physiotherapists/Physical therapists (PTs) are rehabilitation professionals who treat individuals of all ages from new-born babies to older people. Primarily they focus on human movement dysfunction and their consequences.
- Physical therapists (PT’s) commonly prescribe exercises, perform manual therapy, and apply electro physical agents to treat individuals.
- PT’s perform physical therapy intervention procedures by using appropriate clinical and research decisions/tools for rehabilitating clients/patients.
- PT’s apply the current sciences, knowledge, theory and professional judgment for assessing, planning and implementing physical therapy care with relevant research/clinical evidence.
- PT’s promote health, both in general and on the competitive level, in areas such as sports, work productivity and geriatrics by effectively interacting and maintaining good interpersonal relationship with other health care providers based on ethical and legal guidelines.
Q. When and where is physical therapy applied? How does it help our health and overall wellness?
Dr. Kandakurti: Physical therapy can be applied in primary, secondary and tertiary care settings. PT’s provide physical therapy measures in all the stages of progression during prevention, management and rehabilitation.
- PT’s diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, who have systemic problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives.
- PT’s evaluate the client/patient by using appropriate clinical methods and procedures associated with physical therapy practice.
- PT’s develop a treatment plan of care by using a range of physical therapy techniques and procedures to promote the individual’s functional ability and overall quality of life by restoring the functions and prevent disability.
Q. What are the different fields offered at the College of Allied Health Sciences?
Dr. Kandakurti: The College of Allied Health Sciences currently offers the following five Bachelors level programs that are aligned to the UAE National Qualification Framework at the appropriate levels. These include:
- Bachelor of Physiotherapy (B.P.T.)
- Bachelor of Health Sciences – Medical Laboratory Sciences (BHS – MLS)
- Bachelor of Health Sciences – Medical Imaging Sciences (BHS – MIS)
- Bachelor of Health Sciences – Anesthesia & Surgical Technology (BHS – AST)
- Bachelor of Health Sciences – Nursing Sciences (BHS – NS)
Q. How many years program is standard?
Dr. Kandakurti: In line with international standards all the programs offered are of four years duration.
Q. Looking specifically at physical therapy, what are the educational requirements?
Dr. Kandakurti: These are as follows:
- The applicant must have completed a minimum of 12 years of education in school and passed the subjects Physics, Chemistry and Biology in the Higher Secondary examination.
- The applicants from UAE educational system must have secured an aggregate of 80 percent or above marks as per UAE Secondary School Education Standards.
- The applicants from Non-UAE educational systems must have secured an aggregate equivalent to UAE 80 percent or above.
Q. Is there an entrance exam for your college?
Dr. Kandakurti: The requirements are as follows:
- All applicants must complete 17 years of age on or before the 31st of December in the year of admission and shall not be more than 28 years of age.
- The applicant must have proficiency in spoken and written English. The applicant must have passed the English language proficiency test such as TOEFL, IELTS or PTE Academic.
- A minimum score of 500 TOEFL (173 CBT, 61 iBT), 5.0 IELTS Academic, PTE A (36- 44) or any other standardized internationally recognized test approved by the Commission for Academic Accreditation (CAA), Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research (MOHE&SR), UAE.
- The applicant will be required to appear for a written Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) test followed by a personal interview before the GMU Admissions Committee.
- The Admissions Committee evaluates all applicants for both cognitive and non-cognitive traits demonstrating their aptitude for the chosen area of study.
Q. When a student graduates from the program, what do they normally go into as far as career is concerned?
Dr. Kandakurti: On successful completion of the BPT program, the student will be awarded the degree of Bachelor of Physiotherapy, which would be a stepping stone to a challenging career. Physical therapists are readily employed all over the world since they offer a variety of clinical knowledge and expertise, adding to the diversity of the professional community. Upon fulfilling the requirements of the national/local licensing/regulatory board, the student can do the following:
- Work in multi and super specialty hospitals, outpatient and home care clinics, rehabilitation centers.
- Work as an ergonomist in industrial sectors and other occupational environments.
- Work as an instructor in fitness and sports training facilities.
- Work as a self-employed/home care physical therapist.
- Pursue career as a research assistant.
- Advance in career by pursuing Master of Physical Therapy (MPT).
Q. What are some subspecialties of your field?
Dr. Kandakurti: After successful completion of B.P.T program, the student can pursue higher education in the following sub-specialties:
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Cardio pulmonary disorders
- Neurological disorders
- Pediatric rehabilitation
- Women’s health
Q. How popular is the program?
Dr. Kandakurti: CoAHS is offering BPT program from the year 2000 and many graduates are placed well in professional positions locally and globally. According to survey done by US Department of Labor (2014) the employment of physical therapists is projected to grow 36 percent from 2012 to 2022.
Considering the status of graduates who have passed and the future international forecast, the graduates of this program will be in high demand.