Meet Vicky Cook, Bupa Therapy's new physiotherapist

It was a TAC ad more than 20 years ago which first had Vicky Cook thinking about the power of physiotherapy.

In the ad, a young woman who wasn’t wearing a seatbelt was thrown from the car in a near-fatal accident. Her injuries were so significant, she had to learn to walk again.

A physiotherapist can be seen helping the young woman at parallel bars: ‘Hold on Katie, bend your knees, let yourself down slowly.’

“I’ll always remember that ad, it resonated with me and I knew then, that was what I was supposed to do with my life,” says Vicky.

“I thought, ‘it’s amazing that you can help someone learn to walk who previously hasn’t been able to walk, I’d love to be able to do that.’”

Vicky is now an experienced physiotherapist, passionately committed to her job. She can’t count how many people she’s since helped learn to walk again.

After 15 years working in neurological physiotherapy, in both hospital and community settings, she’s excited to start a new venture as a senior physiotherapist at Bupa Therapy.

Bupa Therapy is a new state-of-the-art centre opening this month in West Melbourne for people with neurophysiological conditions.

“Working as a physio is sometimes physically exhausting, it’s always mentally exhausting. It’s not glamorous by any standard but I still think I have the best job in the world,” says Vicky.

“I’m used to working in the hospital system where we would learn about the latest technology and equipment at conferences, but we never got to use them in the real world.

"So, I’m really excited to be working at Bupa Therapy with a brand new facility, new equipment and the kind of modern technologies which I’ve always dreamed of having access to.”

http://media.bupa.com.au/who-is-jacelyn-goh/Vicky specialises in neurological physiotherapy, in other words: assessing, diagnosing and treating conditions of the brain and spinal cord. This includes (but isn’t limited to) stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, brain and spinal cord injuries and tumours, and balance and vestibular conditions.

“I always wanted to work in a caring profession,” she says, “so physio felt like a good fit for me because it means I can work with people, in particular people with disability, which has always been a passion of mine.”

On top of her physiotherapy and Masters degrees, she’s also completed advanced training in Bobath (Neurodevelopmental) treatment and vestibular rehabilitation.

Vicky has been published in peer-reviewed journals and has presented at both physiotherapy and rehabilitation conferences. Her research interests include neurological rehabilitation and falls prevention.

She’s also recently become a mum, and says her two-year-old daughter has given her new perspective.

As a mum I feel like I’ve become more in tune with people’s emotions. When I’m working with someone, I don’t just see them as a person anymore but I also think about their role as a daughter, a sister, a father, or their connections to whoever else they may be close to.
Vicky Cook, Bupa Therapy Physiotherapist

Vicky will never forget one of the first patients she worked with. He was about her age, a young man living with Multiple Sclerosis.

All he wanted was to be able to take part in social activities with his family and friends, up at eye level with everyone else, rather than sitting in a wheelchair. That became their focus and they were able to achieve the goal together.

“One of the most important things is to really listen to the people we’re working with, to understand their goals. Everyone I work with has different goals, but together, we can often find a way to achieve them.

“It might be to stand up, walk to the car or get on a bus, things that many people take for granted. And when these things are achieved, the people are always so grateful, but we’re also grateful to them too because they teach us a lot and that’s what makes work so enjoyable and so rewarding.

“It’s a real two-way relationship and that’s what motivates me on days when I get out of bed and I’m not feeling as energised as I did yesterday, just thinking about seeing those faces and knowing that they’re looking forward to seeing me.”

Meet some of Bupa Therapy's other experienced clinicians, Speech Pathologist Kirsten Toll and Occupational Therapist Jacelyn Goh.

Bupa Therapy is now open, if you’re interested to have a look at the new centre, you can get in touch to request a tour here.

Read more about different careers at Bupa