Case study

Physiotherapist — Anna Readman

Anna enjoys working as a physiotherapist in a private practice. Find out how she hopes to progress her career and become a senior practitioner

How did you get your job?

After studying a business degree I wanted a career where I could physically help people, one that would give me the opportunity to develop my own business in the future. I decided to study physiotherapy and then obtain work in the private sector.

Since graduating from Cardiff University I've been working full time for various private physiotherapy practices.

How did your degree prepare you for your role?

The degree prepares you for the basics of physiotherapy but can't fully prepare you for addressing psychosomatic disorders and how other parts of the body affect a patient's condition.

Experience and support from senior practitioners, gaining further training and patient mileage are often the only ways to truly learn this aspect of the work.

What's a typical week like?

I spend my time treating clients in the private practice, but I also work at two leisure centres. On average I see 40 to 60 patients a week, six patients in the morning and six in the afternoon, for 25 to 30 minutes each. I write detailed notes on each patient's progress and the treatment provided.

I receive two hours of training each week, which I enjoy. I work closely with the administration staff and other professionals, and attend weekly staff meetings.

What do you enjoy about physiotherapy?

I enjoy the challenge of healthcare, helping people and getting a chance to change patients' lives both on a physical and mental level. I like that you never stop learning and there is scope of further research.

What are the challenges?

When patients come to see me very demoralised because their condition has been described in a very unhelpful way, e.g. your back is crumbling, I find their progression can be slower as a result of that mental suggestion. This has made me more mindful of my own language with patients, ensuring that what I say is not taken out of context and misinterpreted.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

If you asked me this question during my physiotherapy degree I would have said that I want to be running my own private practice. However, since working full time in the private sector I feel there is a lot I need to learn before branching out on my own.

In five years time I would like to complete a Masters in physiotherapy and work towards becoming an extended scope physiotherapist, making me a senior practitioner.

What are your tips for others wanting to study physiotherapy?

Get as much experience as you can in various settings before you apply to the degree. These can range from neurology, paediatrics and obstetrics departments to residential care homes and homes for physical disability patients.

Gain a full insight into the role and the qualities needed to succeed. Universities want to know you're making an informed career decision and are fully aware of the challenges and rewards of the role.

Also, ensure that you pick the right degree for you as all physiotherapy degrees have differences. Some programmes start placements in the first year, where others start later in the degree, so apply for the degree that suits you and your learning style.

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