Case study

Physiotherapist — Hannah Carter

Hannah enjoys helping patients to regain their mobility and improve their health and wellbeing. Find out more about how her degree prepared her for a career in physiotherapy

How did you get your job as a physiotherapist?

I recently graduated with a degree in physiotherapy from Cardiff University. I completed eight practical placements while on my degree and two of my placements were at Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University (AMBU) Health Board.

My experience made me realise that the health board was the right fit for me and this helped me stand out during the application stage.

I'm currently working as a Band 5 physiotherapist at AMBU and I am on my first rotation.

How did your degree prepare you for being a physiotherapist?

The degree has a strong emphasis on placements so you spend of lot of time developing practice skills and effective communication with patients. However, before placements you are constantly being marked and observed on practical assessments and presentations, making the placement assessments seem less daunting.

There's a lot of clinical reasoning in the final year, which is an important aspect of physiotherapy because we're autonomous practitioners so we justify everything that we do - and developing a problem-solving approach to the work eases the transition from student to a Band 5 position.

What's a typical day like?

I'm currently on my first four-monthly rotation in acute elderly care. In the morning I check the status of the ward: what discharges we've had and new admissions. We'll either have staff meetings, a ward round or a handover from the nurses.

Once we've prioritised the ward, I focus on providing tailored physiotherapy, taking into account the patient's lifestyle and home needs. I also liaise with various professionals and family members to provide the appropriate treatment. The aim is to increase the patient's mobility and to discharge them in a timely and appropriate manner.

On average I see between 15 and 20 patients a day. There are 30 patients on the ward, but not all of them will need support.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I enjoy patient contact, building rapport and developing a relationship, then seeing their mobility improve so they can return home.

What are the challenges?

Dealing with the volume of patients and the time pressures can be difficult.

Sometimes the delay in discharging a patient can also be difficult, especially when it's purely down to waiting for community care or a nursing home place.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

I would be happy to stay in the NHS and have no plans to work in the private sector.

I want to complete my full year of rotations and hopefully progress into Band 6. In five years' time I think I might like to specialise. I'm not tied to any area or location and the joy of physiotherapy is that you can be very mobile.

What's your advice to someone thinking about physiotherapy?

Have a good understanding of physiotherapy. Contact physiotherapists to explore the variety of work available and gain a range of shadowing experience to ensure you're certain that this career is for you.

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