Physiotherapy (Hons) 2:1 1995
Self employed –private musculoskeletal work, specialising in spinal and chronic dysfunction, and teaching both clinical skills and occupational health and fitness for / return to work rehabilitation
Had I not been to Birmingham and become a physiotherapist I would be in a completely different type of life, so it did completely change my life. When you are 18, like I was, you have no idea of the impact of such a decision on your whole future. I don’t know what I would have done if had not been to university to be a physiotherapist"
What are your career experiences since graduating from the University of Birmingham?
Since graduating I have worked in a variety of sectors – starting out in the NHS at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and at Rover, Longbridge. I then took the step of moving to Cumbria where I took a position as an Occupational Health (OH) Physiotherapist for BAE SYSTEMS Marine (where they build submarines and ships). This was a huge step as I was working on my own, with some monthly support from a more experienced OH physiotherapist. Working mainly alone was a huge challenge but forced me to continue my professional learning with a number of post graduate courses, and endless referring to books and being proactive about problem solving and I think this has stood me in good stead.
In 2002 I moved to Derbyshire and took a Spinal Clinical Specialist post in the local PCT. This called for someone with an interest in back pain and return to work, and with my background at BAE this was ideal for me. So for two years I set up a new service – spinal triage for the consultants – referring from the PCT into the hospital were necessary, setting up a back programme which looked at acute injury management, chronic pain management and return to work issues.
In 2004 I also went on a Get on the Ball course and this changed the way I worked considerably, making me more intuitive and holistic in my approach to rehab, but also more flexible in treating any age or ability of patient. I continued with these courses, and then was asked to become a tutor in 2006 which was a great compliment, and has led me to expand both my clinical skills and my teaching skills.
In 2006 I went ahead with my self employment plan – wanting to return to my OH roots, and with idealistic plans to deliver evidence based services for return to work. Some of this has been accomplished! During this time I have learnt so much about business, myself and what I want and need from work for myself and family. Right now I do a small amount of specialist clinical work and seem to have more and more teaching and course writing to do, especially in the new climate of increased interest in fitness for work.
What is the best thing about what you are doing now?
The best thing about now is flexibility and using my skills to help others, business or health professionals, improve their management of injured people.
What was the best thing about your time as a student here?
I enjoyed my time as a student and it was the fulfilment of a dream to be a physiotherapist. I loved Birmingham as a place, but didn’t see much of its social life due to the intensity of the course!
In what way did living and studying in Birmingham live up to your expectations?
I had no idea what to expect when I went to Birmingham, it was new to me living in a large city. However I found the people friendly and have had a soft spot for Birmingham ever since.
What advice would you give to current students studying on your degree programme?
A hard one – work hard but remember there is life outside of physiotherapist even though sometimes it doesn’t feel like it! Try to keep it in perspective, and although being a physiotherapist will define much of your life for many years to come, try and keep up your out of work interests too to keep hold of the elusive work life balance!
How did you grow as a person by coming to University? Did it change your life in any way?
This is hard question, because had I not been to Birmingham and become a physiotherapist I would be in a completely different type of life, so it did completely change my life. When you are 18, like I was, you have no idea of the impact of such a decision on your whole future. I don’t know what I would have done if had not been to university to be a physiotherapist.