Jack and Amy tell us all about Physiotherapy

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We recently spoke with Jack a Senior Physiotherapist in Stroke Physiotherapy and Amy a Physiotherapist in Orthopaedics & Therapy Services. Both currently work for East & North Hertfordshire NHS Trust. They spoke to us about what interested them in a career in physiotherapy, how they got started and what an average day looks like for them.

What interested you in a career in physiotherapy?

Jack: Initially at school I had considered higher education and had always had an interest in sports, initially like most people I assumed that physiotherapy was about running on the pitch and fixing elite sports people.  I had seen physiotherapists in the NHS for my own sporting injuries and had been really inspired by the amount of faith that I put into my physiotherapist to guide me back to playing the sport I loved.   

After a bit of research you soon realise that physiotherapist do not just fix people but they also have specialist knowledge in neurological conditions like stroke and Parkinson's, as well as the respiratory system and conditions like COPD and cystic fibrosis.   

Amy: I originally didn't consider physiotherapy at school because I'd never really heard of it, and had been a very 'arts and humanities' type of person. It was only whilst completing my performance degree and working within marketing that I realised I wanted to do something that meant more and felt like I could help people. As I was volunteering for St John Ambulance, I looked more into the NHS and felt that healthcare was where I wanted to be. I re-took my A-levels with an access course at college and applied to university to complete my degree.

 I didn't realise how many areas a physiotherapist could work in - and I've never once regretted my choice. Since studying and working as a physiotherapist, I've worked in ITU and then with amputees, children (in schools and at home), patients with strokes, brain injuries, respiratory conditions, traumatic  injuries (including sport) and for people who are ex-army/ex police force. I firmly believe it's the most interesting job you could pick and the opportunities are endless!  

How did you become a Physiotherapist?

Jack: Amy and I both went to university to study to become physiotherapists, I studied mainly science based A-Levels (Maths, Chemistry and Biology) and found getting into university very competitive. The course was very challenging but equally rewarding in the impact that we get to have when treating patients with a wide range of conditions. 

What does an average day look like for you?

Jack: Typically physiotherapists complete assessment and treatment of patients on wards, rehabilitation units and outpatient units to identify patient's problems and address them.  We then work within multi-disciplinary teams to best manage conditions and coordinate safe discharges back into the community.  In physiotherapy we are really fortunate in that quite often we are progressing patients towards their goals and aiming to allow patients to regain more independence. 

This was particularly rewarding during the COVID-19 pandemic as visiting had been restricted we were sometimes the only contact the people had.  You could see the importance of our input in giving people motivation and working towards goals and getting excited about discharge.

Amy: As Jack said, I think the role of physiotherapy has come into its own during COVID. Where people have been seriously ill in ITU, or had 'long COVID' with long standing weakness and respiratory or neurological issues as a result - we've stepped up to provide appropriate care and rehabilitation to ensure that these patients can regain their quality of life and become the people they were before they got sick. Some patients have a really long stay in hospital and due to their condition, they can be very weak and lose the ability to do things they would have had no issues with completing before. We also work very holistically: as Jack said, visitors haven't been allowed to see them which makes patients lonely and desperate for company. Supporting patients to get out of bed and call their families after such a long time apart has been the most worthwhile and heart-warming part of this pandemic!  

Where can I find out more

If you are interested in becoming a Physiotherapist we have lots more information on our career page, click here to view.