Every Contact Counts!

So since my boyfriend is being boring playing Fifa, I now find myself writing another blog post. So since finishing University I have felt a bit lost in translation but, at the same time have relished the fact I can take any opportunity that comes my way. A bit of a downer on the NHS job front all of the applications I submitted got rejected 😦 !! However, I did ask for feedback and the only comments I received were I didn’t have HCPC registration (which I now have finally so no stopping me).

I had received some information regarding some bank work at Walsall Manor hospital which was positive. However, again being back at home I am limited by my current location in Chesterfield and have no funds to rent anywhere.

A little side story: when I was sorting out my application for bank work I was in bed when I had an emailed pinged from NHS jobs saying that Walsall Manor Hospital had a permanent band 5 post (I have only just realised that NHS jobs email you at the end of the day rather than the morning for any new jobs). So lying in bed I thought oh its fine it has only just gone up so I can apply in the morning…. Rookie error by 11 am the  job had gone gahhh!! At this point I had put in quite a few applications so I was getting a bit impatient, so being the keen bean I am I rang the line manager to check it was due to the number of applications (which it is was). However, the manager was really nice and said if I have my HCPC I could be put through to interview from being on the bank. Unfortunately at this point I didn’t have it and had to face another turned down application. But it does show if you are really interested in a post which you have missed it is worth calling the manager after to  discuss whether it was due to the number of applications.

So on a brighter note being an unemployed graduate has worked in my favor. Gerard Greene who I work for doing CPD course admin at Harborne Physio had spotted a job opportunity through one of the clinics he follows on twitter. He suggested it to me which I grasped with both hands.The job is at Worcester Warriors acting as physio for the junior and senior camps over the summer. To get the post I had a skype interview with the clinical director and one of the clinical specialists at the Markland Clinic.  I was a bit rushed for my interview, (which for people who know me is not like me, as I had stayed at my boyfriends in Sheffield so I felt a bit flustered for the interview). Tip 1: arrive to your interview with plenty of time and prepare for your interview!! The sort of questions I got asked were:

What do you know about the Markland clinic?

Talk us through how you dealt with a sporting injury?

Tell us about your strengths + weaknesses?

How would you deal with a player who’s family lived away from the camp who needed to go to hospital?

How would you deal with a difficult player?

What approach would you take with the parents, coaches and players?

And some more which I can’t remember…

Once the interview got started I felt a lot more comfortable and it went fairly well which resulted in me getting the job!! I am so excited for the opportunity and I will update you with how it goes. I am sure I will have a few stories with me being the only physiotherapist on site.

Another contact who was very helpful was my course mate Ciara Horne (http://www.ciarahorne.com/) who is a track rider for Welsh cycling. Ciara also rides on the roads for the Breast Cancer Care Cycling Team who were short of a Soigneur (sports massage therapist ) for the Krasna Lipa Tour de Feminin in the Czech Republic. So when Ciara asked me I jumped at the chance to go as you never know what other opportunities may come of it. So I spoke to the manager booked my train tickets to London to set off for a very long drive to the Czech Republic. So a brief introduction to life as a Soigneur can be found below.

Day 1:I caught the train down to London to meet Rene Groot the manager and Colin Baldwin the other Soigneur. To start our journey we took the Euro tunnel and headed through France, Belgium, Holland (unintentionally) and Germany where we stayed the night before travelling further to the Czech Republic. We had set off from London about 1.30pm  and arrived in Germany about 1.30 am so a fair trip (this included food, toilet and pick up stops).

Day 2: We had to travel over to Dresden in Germany to pick up the team as some of the riders are based in Belgium where Scottish cycling lease a house and some of the others who had flown over to meet us. So in total we had 7 riders, 1 mechanic, 2 soigneurs and the manager.  From Dresden we headed for Krasna Lipa, Czech Republic to register the riders for the race. After registering we headed to the accommodation, which was an old school, luckily we were one of the lucky teams who had a communal area which meant we could set up the massage tables (shame we were on the 2nd floor as there was a lot of unpacking).

Day 3,4, the riders had a stage race and had pre and post massages for the event. The girls on the team were lovely and I learnt the job of Soigneur from the best, as Colin had previously worked with the likes of Bradley Wiggins and Sarah Storey. As this race was my first cycling race I had been to watch, a lot of it was all new to me, for example, during stage races riders were given more drinking bottles at feeding stations (which me  and Colin found difficult to find sometimes) but I learnt very quickly and all the girls managed to take fluid and mix from us at the stations. I can’t tell you the adrenaline rush of a group of cyclists speeding past you and you hoping you don’t drop their bottle during the race. So apart from sports massages and feeding, Soigneurs were also responsible for pretty much any other task the riders needed for example we did the supermarket shop, carried bags, first aid and a shoulder to cry on if any one needed it. It was fair to say both me and Colin fancied a glass of red at the end of the night.

Day 5 Was the time trial (TT) race in the morning and another stage race in the afternoon. I must admit I never knew how complicated bikes could be in terms of types, height, different saddle, mechanics  etc…. I thought horses were complicated.

Day 6 Was the final stage race in the morning before packing up for a long journey back to London. We set off at 3.30pm and I finally arrived back home about 3.30pm the next day, I suppose the only negative of going to these events but luckily I managed to get some good sleep through the 6 countries we traveled through. I think if you want to start working in sport you have to know how to fall asleep anywhere quickly.

See some pictures below of the trip!!

So that is me all up to date, I graduated last Wednesday which was a lovely day with all the physios and I am now just waiting on 4 NHS job applications to see where I go from there.

IMG_0513 IMG_0520 IMG_0537 IMG_0556 IMG_0562 IMG_0572IMGP5966 P1010738 P1010810

https://www.facebook.com/BreastCancerCareCyclingTeam

https://twitter.com/BCC_CT

http://www.marklandclinic.com/

http://www.warriors.co.uk/home.php

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No Work Without Play!

What a whirlwind of events over the last couple of weeks… I’m not sure really where to start, but I will try.

I have had some positive news on the job front, I have been approached by GB Men’s Sitting Volleyball team to attend some of their training sessions, with the aim of going with them to the Europeans in Poland. This opportunity sounds amazing and would be a fantastic experience, but at the same time I do not want to be working outside of my scope, so I plan to seek advice from qualified members to see what they suggest.

Another employment lead has come from Bournville Rugby Club. Natalie Furness a physiotherapist who gave one of my unemployed graduate lectures (showing again networking is key) asked me if I was still interested in working for the club. I have replied saying I would love the experience. However, unfortunately that is dependent on whether I can secure a full time job in the West Midlands. So although opportunities keep arising I am still limited by my ever mounting overdraft… the joys of student life.

Aside from private work, I have submitted another application for a static NHS MSK post. Although band 5 rotations have always been the norm, in the ever changing NHS environment rotations are not always suited to every physiotherapist. My long term goal is to work in MSK practice, so following my previous post with the advice of CSP professional advisers and therapy leads… I questioned myself on completing applications.. which posts are going to get me to where I need to be ?

With regards to CSP membership and HCPC registration, I still need to send off my forms . I have been a bit sidetracked the last couple of weeks and as of tomorrow I will be in Padstow on a family holiday, so will be postponing the job hunt until next Monday.

In my previous post I spoke about the opportunity that came about from Harborne Physio. I am due to start working with Gerard next week, starting off by running his social media and looking out for new venues for courses. I am looking forward to being involved as Gerard seems to be very busy at the moment… so lots to do!!!

Outside of physiotherapy, the last couple have been crazy!!! We had Sports ball Monday, gradball Thursday, my Birthday Saturday followed by Bucs nationals for the equestrian team this week. I am a firm believer that as a physiotherapy student work/life balance is essential. We do a very intense degree which requires a lot of hours, but it is important to have some down time to make the most of the experience of University. As part of the equestrian team I have been 1st team captain for the last 2 years. The role has developed my skills in time management (for being able to get my uni work done alongside training/competition), organisational (organising a competition for the University), communication (contacting other club captains and speaking to club members), leadership (being a role model to members and being able to delegate) and finally team work (working as a team at competitions to win). The hard work the whole team has put in with equestrian has been amazing and we have been rewarded this week by being crowned BUCS national champions!! Joining a club at University was the best decision I ever made, and it is a way of standing out against other graduates !! (Some pictures added below from Sports ball, gradball and BUCS Nationals).

So back to physiotherapy during my time at BUCS nationals my exam results were posted online a day early :-S!! I was pretty much set for a 2:1 in my degree which I was quite happy about but I knew if I was going to get a first it would be very much dependent on my dreaded dissertation. My dissertation explored the perceptions and experiences of physiotherapy students and how their individual learning style preferences interacted with the clinical environment. The small scale study highlighted some interesting themes:

Individuals highlighted how they saw the “environment” differently and how the nature or setting impacted on their learning. Second, was “quality”, clinical educators played an important role in facilitating students’ learning and supporting students’ personal needs. Students highlighted that more experienced clinical educators with certain attributes enhanced their learning. Third, was “barriers”. Students’ demonstrated lack of confidence in unfamiliar situations and weak evidence suggested students with reflector/theorist preferences tended to struggle in high pressure situations imposed by clinical educators. Finally, was “collaboration”, an understanding and flexibility from both clinical educator and student was important to ensure matched outcomes and goals.

I was quietly proud of my dissertation as I had spent a lot of time on it, but I wasn’t sure of the class it would get! I would advise any student to take advantage of having a dissertation tutor. My tutor Clive Liles had an interest in my topic and was so helpful in facilitating my decisions. So results were in……. I checked online and saw the number 40!!! realising I had read the credits rather than my mark!! Heart stopping moment :-S I looked again to see I had got 73% which ultimately tipped me over to receive a FIRST CLASS HONORS DEGREE ARRRRGGGH!!!!

So what a fantastic couple of weeks to finish off the best 4 years of my life! Sports ball, Gradball, turning 23, BUCS national champions in equestrian and a 1ST Class honors degree!!! I think this week will be hard to top! (maybe I should buy a Euro millions ticket.)

Again any comments or questions feel free to leave me a message on here or twitter @lucycocker1.

Graduation BallBirthday BUCS NationalsSports Ball

The End is nearly here!

This is only going to be a short post, just to quickly introduce myself. My name is Lucy Cocker I am a final year physiotherapy student at the University of Birmingham looking to graduate in July 2013. I decided to do this blog to offer people an insight into the life of a new graduate and hopefully to tell my story of how I achieved my first physiotherapy post. I currently have one more exam to revise for before I finish, so I won’t be doing many blogs at the moment. I am new to word press so bare with me if it takes me some time to figure it out! I’m sure I’ll get there! Anyway I look forward to updating you on my progress and I hope you enjoy the journey. If you have any comments please feel free to leave me a reply.

Thanks Lucy

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