Alumni profiles - Rebecca Spencer

BSc Physiotherapy (Hons)

Regional Clinical Manager with IPRS Ltd, a leading UK physiotherapy provider

Birmingham University being recognised as provider of one of the top physiotherapy courses in the country, I believe, gave me an edge when competing for jobs"

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

After graduating from the University of Birmingham with a 1st class honours degree, I immediately entered the world of private musculoskeletal based practice, working for high profile health club chains, inclusive of Virgin Active Health Clubs and David Lloyd Leisure. This was supplemented by part time lecturing with Pro-Active Training Ltd; a lead UK provider of sports injury and massage diploma courses.

I currently work as Regional Clinical Manager for the Midlands at IPRS limited. IPRS are a lead UK physiotherapy provider and provide specialist physiotherapy and rehabilitation services; we were recently awarded the top industry award for rehabilitation in 2012.

Since qualifying in Clinical Pilates and Acupuncture two years ago, I am carrying forward these skills and have planned to complete additional courses in cosmetic acupuncture and Ante-post natal Pilates at the end of this year.

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

I was accepted onto the BSc Physiotherapy course in 2007, which saw a lot of changes in the course curriculum. Although it was difficult being the 'guinea pig' year, the course organisers for physiotherapy are very proactive in trialling and developing the course curriculum on a yearly basis, in response to student feedback and the ongoing developments in the physiotherapy field.

The course is also great value for money, as students receive daily teaching on campus, which comprises of a mix of lectures and practical small-group workshops. The course design also integrates facilitated learning with independent study time, which champions discipline with self study and motivates you to take ownership of your academic development.  

How did you find your first year in Birmingham?

My first year at Birmingham was a mixed bag of emotions. At first I struggled being away from my family and friends back home; however after making friends on the physiotherapy course, It didn't take long for me to settle in and feel like part of a new family. I remember on our first day, being told we needed to undress to model for a practical and from there, everyone got quite comfortable with one another pretty quickly! That provided a good basis for long term friendships. 

How did going to University as a whole benefit you?

Attending university provided me with the necessary qualifications to undertake my desired career path in physiotherapy. Additionally, Birmingham University being recognised as provider of one of the top physiotherapy courses in the country, I believe, gave me an edge when competing for jobs, which at first was very tough. Alongside the academic value, university helped to prepare me for an independent, working lifestyle, since I learnt how to perform those really important everyday life skills, like how to cook and effectively manage my finances - most of the time!  

How did you find campus life?

Living close to the university made travelling onto campus on a daily basis very easy and allowed me to be close to the hubbub of university life. It also made attending social events on campus very easy, so you never missed the highlights in the university calendar, such as the spectacular fireworks display and Christmas carol concert. Other students who lived further away from campus in the city centre often commented on feeling a little isolated from  university life, which can be difficult especially in the first year. 

How did you find living in Birmingham?

Studying in Birmingham was a great experience and finally learning how to do my own washing was a great accomplishment! Birmingham is a diverse and vibrant city with plenty on offer- especially the night life! There's a real mix of cultures, so everyone can feel at home somewhere.

When I first visited the campus, I immediately fell in love with the aura surrounding the place and often thought that at night, the grounds resembled Hogwarts- that was the real clincher for me in choosing where to go to university!

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

I was a proactive member of the latin and balloon society whilst studying at Birmingham, which made for a wonderful escape from university work! We were lucky enough to compete at nationals, which took place at the Council Building in the city centre; that was a wonderful experience and really taught me the value of team work and working hard to achieve something great. It also did wonders for my posture, which acts as a good example to my patients!

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

Always be prepared to carry on learning. You'll reach a time in your career where you think you have a pretty good grounding in physiotherapy; that is until you attend a course and realise that actually, you know very little! Always be prepared to challenge your beliefs. 

What are your aspirations for the future?

My plans for the future include acquiring my own musculoskeletal based physiotherapy practice, with the hope of eventually developing into a multidisciplinary based clinic. Services I plan to include are podiatry, sports therapy, physiotherapy, clinical Pilates and osteopathy, so that patients can have every expertise at their finger tips and professionals can acquire new knowledge and learn from one another. I would also love to develop my teaching career further, as I really enjoy sharing the knowledge and skills I have acquired with others.