July 28 this year our office hosted a group of physiotherapy students from the Department of Exercise Science of Lebanon Valley College (Annville, Pennsylvania), one of the leading universities educating physiotherapists in the United States. The visit to the KIF Office was the culmination of an almost three-week stay (industry-cultural-cognitive visit) of students in Poland under the leadership and care of Professor Andrzej Miłosz – physiotherapist, practitioner and lecturer at the above-mentioned. university.
The students visited rehabilitation facilities in various Polish cities, took part in meetings at universities educating physiotherapists, and also had time to visit and learn about Polish culture. A few days earlier, on July 25 this year. the group had the opportunity to learn about the unique method of subterranotherapy in the world and in Poland, which is used during underground stays at the Wieliczka Salt Mine Health Resort. Guests had the opportunity to observe the work of a team of physiotherapists in underground conditions and spend the night 135 meters underground.

The students were particularly interested in the patient’s profile and proposed therapies, as well as the scope of competences of physiotherapists working in the rehabilitation day ward. Many questions were asked about the method and principles of providing rehabilitation services in Poland and the place of a physiotherapist in this system.

Students were positively surprised by the multitude of available forms of rehabilitation within the public health care system. Similarities and differences in this area in other countries were discussed and it was concluded that the model closest to the ideals is in which a physiotherapist, due to his extensive knowledge and competences, should be the first link to which the patient reports and at the same time a “bridge” between the doctor and which is directed when necessary. The meeting in Wieliczka took place with the participation and assistance of physiotherapists Iga Dziedzic and Aleksandra Krzywonos, a physiotherapy specialist working every day at the Wieliczka Spa, representing the KIF international cooperation team.

During the meeting at the KIF Office, Weronika Krzepkowska, responsible for international cooperation, told students about what professional self-government is, how it functions and what it does (including the FIZJO-LEARNING project), as well as about physiotherapists and physiotherapy in Poland. Ph.D. Magdalena Hagner-Derengowska, prof. The Nicolaus Copernicus University presented the process of educating physiotherapists in Poland, presenting the entire educational path from the conditions necessary to undertake studies, through the course of studies, to obtaining the right to practice the profession. Wojciech Komosa, Head of the Communication and Marketing Department, also provided information about promotional activities addressed to the public, which are implemented by KIF. Students asked many questions about the role of physiotherapists in prevention and their places of work. The possibility of publication in the scientific journal KIF Physiotherapy Review was also met with great interest. At the end of the meeting, the differences and similarities between the education of physiotherapists in the USA and Poland, cooperation with other medical professions, direct access to a physiotherapist, as well as opportunities to expand competences in our professional group were discussed.