Alumni profiles - Andrew Dean-Young

BSc Physiotherapy (Hons)

Community Band 6 Physiotherapist, S. Wales

...the continual feedback and support from the Clinical Educators whilst on placement gave me the chance to further develop my handling skills, assessments and overall patient management"

What are you currently doing and who are you working for?

I currently work as a Community Band 6 Physiotherapist for the Aneurin Bevan Health Board in South Wales. I provide physiotherapy treatments and rehabilitation to patients suffering from a wide variety of conditions. All my treatments take place within their own homes or local amenities.

Since leaving BirminghamUniversity I worked in Bristol as a Junior Physiotherapist completing my general rotations for 4 years. This gave me experience of working in a variety of settings and within a variety of Multidisciplinary teams.

I then spent 8 months working as Band 6 physiotherapist in North Somerset continuing my  work within patients homes, providing urgent chest and falls assessments, as well as providing long term ongoing rehab for patients throughout Nailsea, Long Ashton and Backwell region of Somerset.

Which course did you study at the University of Birmingham and how it benefited you?

I studied the BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy degree at BirminghamUniversity. This course is a pre-registration course and needed to be completed in order for me to become a physiotherapist.  The course involved many lectures and practical sessions on campus which gave me a full holistic understanding of the world of physiotherapy but it also gave the opportunity to go out on placement and experience the job first hand in various hospitals, GP’s practices and out in the community.

This course benefited me a lot as it gave me all the skills and knowledge to help me to become a physiotherapist. As a vocational course it also gave me the chance to practice the skills I learnt in the classroom in real time events whilst under supervision out on placement. This allowed me to gain insight into life as a physiotherapist and the continual feedback and support from the Clinical Educators whilst on placement gave me the chance to further develop my handling skills, assessments and overall patient management.

What made you to decide to study at the University of Birmingham?

My main key factors in choosing a university were that the physiotherapy school, athletics/sports facilities and Halls of residence all needed to be within close proximity to each other.

BirminghamUniversity and especially the Edgbaston Campus had all of this and more. I attended an open day in April of the year leading up towards my application. The sun was shining and the large impressive red brick buildings of Aston Webb and Old Joe stood out amongst the greenery of the central part of campus. The physiotherapy school was large and impressive and had lots of useful information and advice to help my application. I found the access to the university was great with the train station on campus taking you all over Birmingham and the surrounding areas. All of these aspects helped me to decide the Birmingham would be my first choice. 

How did you find your first year in Birmingham?

 My first year was great. It was nice to get that independence from my family. I spent my first year in University Accommodation at the Tennis Courts. I was lucky enough to be in centre court where all the flats face a central point. This meant that people were always around and wandering by which gave a good community feel. It was also within walking distance of the other major halls at the Vale and only 10 minutes walk from the main campus so was an ideal location.

The physiotherapy course in the first year was busy, there were a lot of long days of lectures and practical sessions. However because it interested me it was always great to spend time learning about the anatomy, physiology and working with other professions. I found the step up to completing long essays difficult, however the variety of libraries and intranet blackboard sites set up by the course and general support from the lecturers meant that I soon started to pick up what was required and how to manage my self-directed learning in order to meet all the deadlines. 

In my first year I also took part in some of the inter-mural sport. I played mixed netball and mixed basketball for the Tennis Courts. We had a successful year and it was great to train and compete with friends and other people in the same Halls of Residence that I wouldn’t usually come into contact with on a daily basis. The competition was mostly friendly and everyone who played got fully involved and had a good time

How did going to University as a whole benefit you?

Going to University was the best thing I could have done. It allowed me to study for a vocational course like Physiotherapy which meant that I could follow my dream of being a physiotherapist.

I also felt that the chance to gain some independence and live on my own was a vital life skill. This was as I had to organise myself and ensure that attended my lectures on time, made my own meals, did my washing and budgeted for weekly shops. Throughout my time at University I met a variety of people for different backgrounds and this is a vital aspect of University life. It is amazing what a small world it can be at times and I continually come into contact now with people who I met at University or who knows someone who was on the same course or who lived in Tennis Courts.

I feel that a lot of the important skills about managing independently would not have been given the chance to further develop if I hadn’t gone to University. I could guarantee that if I’d have stayed at home and done something else I would probably have missed out and gaining a lot new friends and also lots of the people who I had gone to school would have moved on without me as they experience University.

As a result of going to University I have ended up working in my dream profession and have lived and worked now in Bristol and South Wales which I would never have dreamed would be the case when growing up in the north of England.

How did you find campus life?

 I enjoyed campus life, it was a busy campus but there was everything you needed in one place. My course involved us having lectures all over the campus so we got to experience and spend time in most of the buildings. This meant we got to know the campus well. All of the red brick buildings give the campus a majestic feel but with the greenery mixed it gives an open feel to campus and in the summer lots of people congregate and relax on the various grassy areas within the campus.

Everything was within walking distance on campus, you were never more then 10 minutes walk from a convenience store or supermarket and there were plenty of other stores and facilities on campus which were all local and open during term time.

The key thing about the Edgbaston Campus is that it mixes the hustle and bustle of a busy campus which its grand old buildings and tall science blocks with the greenery and open space needed to not feel closed in like you would do in a city centre location.

The other key aspect is that you are only 10-15 minutes train ride from the city centre and the main entertainment/clubbing streets. With the station on campus it makes it easy to pop into the centre whenever you need. This meant that it never really felt like you were all that far from the city centre but you had the advantage of the open space and canals to walk along when you wanted some piece and quiet.

How did you find living in Birmingham?

Living in Birmingham was great, it is a vast city with a great history. I knew a bit about Birmingham life before I came as some of my family live there, however studying and living on my own was always going to be a new experience. Birmingham is a great place to be, it has excellent transport links via train, taxi and bus which means you can get to most places in Birmingham to experience to vast variety it has to offer.

As a sports fan there is also a lot of things on offer, whether it be athletics, football, rugby and cricket. From Birmingham you also get the culture side with theatres, street festivals, cinemas, various religious centres and local concert venues. This means that it is able to cater to most tastes and I certainly found lots of things to do and surpassed my expectations. I also found summer jobs easy to come by, which increased my experience and allowed me to meet people from outside the University setting.

The student community at BirminghamUniversity were supportive. Most people live in the University accommodation which gives everyone a chance to meet new people and for new friendships to grow. In the 2nd and 3rd year people tend to live in Selly Oak or Harborne. Selly Oak is were I lived and this brings lots of people together as you tend to live in long terraced streets with students in most of the houses. As a result you’re never too far from your friends and so arranging night’s outs, events, study groups or meals is easy. As most people at University are there to gain a higher qualification they have the same ethos and purpose which means people are supportive and help is never too far away if required.

Did you join any student societies or take part in any events during your studies?

In my first year I took part in the inter-mural sports where I played mixed netball and basketball. This was great fun and allowed me stimulate my competitive spirit in a friendly laid back way with friends and house mates.

I also joined the Birmingham University Athletics/Track and Field team and trained up to 12 times a week. I raced in many BUCS races and the yearly Ivy League matches at the University campus. My training and races meant I rubbed shoulders with various medallists from major championships and a now World Triathlon champion. I also took an active role in the team and became the Male Track and Field Captain in my final year which involved me selecting the various BUCS teams for the indoors and outdoor events.

In my final year I also got the chance to travel to the USA on an Ivy League Athletics tour. This allowed me to see the sights of Harvard, Yale and CornellUniversities, as well as training hard and competing out in another country for the first time in my life. This was an amazing trip and something that I will never forget and actively encourage all athletes who go to BirminghamUniversity to take up.

I was also a member of NAPSOC (Nursing and Physiotherapy Society) which offered some social events as well as inter-mural sports opportunities.

Any tips or words of wisdom that you would like to pass on to other students thinking of coming to study here?

My favourite quote from the University is

To strive, to seek, to find, but not to yield”

I walked past this quote every day for 2 years and it still stays with me to this day.

My main tip is to embrace the University and Birmingham as a whole. I found that I had a lot of great experiences through just travelling around the city and taking in various sights and events

Try your hand at new sports or new societies whilst at the University but don’t forget about the world outside of the campus.

Birmingham is full of history whether it is just taking a tour of the AstonWebbBuilding or visiting the Barber Institute. You also have the museums and town hall in the centre of the city.

I had 3 fantastic nights at the Symphony Hall in Birmingham which I would recommend and there are many concerts going on around Birmingham.

Nature is also within a stone’s throw with the canals taking you on nice walks around the city. I also had many a trip to CannonHillPark and SuttonPark for walks (and runs) to see the trees change colour in autumn or to take in the summer sun.

It is easy to take in a lot of sport within Birmingham with Edgbaston Cricket Ground on the doorstep you get county but also many international cricket matches. On the train you are never more then 20-30 minutes from a number of football ground, although I must direct you to Aston Villa my favourite club. If athletics is your thing, then you have the major stadium up in Perry Barr which hosts national and international competitions and the NIA also hosts a major indoor grand prix in February each year

Finally don’t forget to embrace the chocoholic inside you by visiting the Cadbury factory in Bournville which is a nice day out and gives you the inside view of chocolate making.

What are your aspirations for the future?

I would like to continue to develop my skills as a Physiotherapist and look to specialise in one area of physiotherapy which is either working with amputees or working the in the Musculoskeletal outpatient setting.

I also would like to take on some lecturing as I have found that I really enjoy the teaching aspect of my work and have had some good feedback on the sessions that I have provided