Case study

Physiotherapist — Rebecca McGregor

Rebecca is just starting her career as a physiotherapist. Find out what she enjoys most about working in a large hospital

How did you get your job as a physiotherapist?

Having done a first degree in sport and exercise science, I went on to complete a BSc Physiotherapy at the University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol.

Around spring time hospitals tend to advertise for their newly qualified Band 5 posts. I applied via NHS Jobs and attended a panel interview. Some interviews, however, also consist of role plays and written exercises (like writing a set of notes).

Write to your local hospitals and request to do some work experience

What's a typical day like as a physiotherapist?

Working as a rotational physiotherapist, I'm based at a big acute hospital and get to rotate departments within the hospital every six months. My current rotation is healthcare of the elderly. We're just about to go onto a six-day working rota to help cover weekend admissions and discharges.

I start work by checking the patients on the ward in the doctor's office and finding out about new patients. We have a priority system in place, which means we have to see new patients and respiratory patients first. We have a multidisciplinary team (MDT) meeting every day to discuss patients and their discharge plans. When we've assessed a patient, we then make a plan for them - what we'll do with them while they're in hospital and how to make them safe to be discharged.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I absolutely love being with the patients. I love being able to listen to people and then try to help them to make things easier. I enjoy hearing about their lives and what makes them happy and tick.

I think it's really important to gauge rehab to what a patient is interested in so they properly get on board with it.

What are the challenges?

Working with people will always be challenging. Some patients won't want to work with you or just won't take any of what you say on board. It's frustrating at times, but you've got to accept that it's their decision.

It's sometimes a challenge working with doctors as we come to a patient from different angles. However, that's when working as a MDT is really good, as both sides are learning about the others' views and how they work.

How relevant is your physiotherapy degree?

My degree taught me the necessary skills and knowledge that I base all my clinical reasoning on. It's vital for what I do.

You have to do a physiotherapy degree in order to gain Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registration and be able to practise as a physiotherapist in the UK.

How has your role developed?

I'm just starting out in my career as a physiotherapist and my role will continue to develop, especially when I change rotation into different departments.

I love working with neuro patients (especially stroke) as I was a rehabilitation assistant before doing my physiotherapy degree. My ambition is to become a specialist stroke rehabilitation physiotherapist.

What advice can you give to others?

Experience is vital. Knowing what you're letting yourself in for definitely helps while you are in the stress of exams and assignments. Universities also look at the experience you've got in your personal statement, so write to your local hospitals and request to do some work experience.

Also research the profession. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) is a great place to start and has lots of information on its website.

Finally talk to physiotherapists. They're the ones on the front line and can share with you the current issues facing the profession.

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