Welcome to the real world!

So continuing my journey I am writing this post following a very busy week in the real world of physiotherapy. This week I have been working at one of the Worcester Warriors senior training camps (12-17) as their physiotherapist. It is fair to say that looking after 87 children is quite a feat and I apologise in advance for any spelling or grammar errors as my brain feels like mush. I was employed to work at the camp through the Markland clinic which is based in Swindon and Cirencester (http://www.marklandclinic.com/). The team at Markland have been a great help this week providing me with a fully kitted out pitch side bag (not many work places would do this) and a nice water proof jacket (which definitely came in handy). So I plan to exchange some of my experience of the camp to give you an idea of what I came up against.

The first day I was met with one of the Markland team called Mike who was there to give me the ins and outs of what I would be doing and introduced me to the team. I must say after working with the Rugby League team at University, which at a push had a max of 20 players playing a game, going to 87 kids was a bit daunting :-S ! But on the first day Mike stayed around and we had a manageable caseload between the two of us. The camp was at Malvern college so we all stayed in school accommodation and were very well catered for in the food department (Definitely need a permanent job to get myself  back into the routine of going to the gym after this week.).

Our normal day would start with an optional fitness session at 7am and finish at 10 pm although when in demand you can be called out at anytime for example when some of the kids get food poisoning at 4am… So long days but as a physio we weren’t required the whole time so we did get chance to have some wind down time. I was joined on the 2nd day by another physiotherapist called Charli Robertson at first I had been told by Mike that Charli was a student physio. I was thinking oh great that is all I need 87 kids and a student physio to look after now I will definitely be out of my depth. Luckily for me there was a mix up and Charli was also fully qualified and was studying for her MSc in Sports Medicine. I would say a very good person to have around!! Our job as the physio was to assess and treat anything that came our way from blisters to head injuries. I found the whole process a great learning curve, I have never had the opportunity to work with children except for the odd MSK outpatient referral so there was a lot of sussing out the real cause of problem. For example some kids would come saying they have leg pain yet could not pin point the exact point and everything would be painful however, most of the time with some magic spray the problem miraculously vanished ;)! I really did rely on my communication skills to adapt to the different age groups to be able to perform accurate assessments and treatments. (Though most of the time I just suggested we chopped their limb off which they weren’t too keen on.) On the flip side of presenting complaints some players would play down a problem and would not tell us until a few days later mainly I think because they did not want to be seen as weak to others or to not be seen by the coaches who were potential scouts. For example we had a fractured radial head which wasn’t investigated until 3 days after the incident, but after educating them all about the importance of telling us if there was a problem we had an influx of cases, which resembled a very busy A+E at some points of the camp.

So the main things I have taken away from this camp that I will implement into my future practice:

  • The importance of  adapting my communication with players, staff and parents.
  • I have revisited assessment, treatment and taping techniques.
  • I have established the importance of communication within the team. Making sure you can speak with the coaches can give you valuable information about the incident you are dealing with.
  • The importance of not underestimating or overestimating an injury. If something doesn’t seem quite right it is important to get a second opinion.
  • The importance of knowing your own scope of practice (As a newly qualified unfortunately I don’t know everything and sometimes just need a little reminder to bring some previous knowledge back to me, if you don’t use it you lose it.)
  • Finally it has got me back into writing clinical notes (which was so strange as no one was signing them)

So I have had an eventful few days but I have loved every minute of it as I am finally using my degree to do the job I have loved studying for the last 3 years.

Some of the benefits I received whilst doing this job:

  • I got to work with 2 great teams. (Worcester Warriors and the Markland Clinic)
  • I was able to go and watch a Worcester Warriors Match.
  • I received some free Worcester Warriors clothing (everyone loves a free t’shirt)
  • Contacts for future opportunities.
  • Finally complete job satisfaction with parents, players and staff ending the camp in high spirits.

For the next 2 weeks I will be covering another 2 camps which will be great. Next week will be a junior camp so (9-12) and the second will be a split camp 2 days junior and 2 days senior, so I will let you know if I have any interesting stories for you.

Below are some pictures from the camp:

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So back to the real world in the NHS I have had a reply form Birmingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. Unfortunately this time I have been unsuccessful however, I will be on the reserve list if another post becomes available within the next 3 months so that is promising so I will keep my fingers and toes crossed :-)! Below are some of the questions I got asked in the interview (I can’t remember all of them):

15 min question paper

You have a 22 year old man who has been in an RTC and has a fractured femur and has had a dynamic hip screw to resolve this.

a)      Goals 1st day post op?

b)      Goals for discharge?

c)       2 days post admission the patient has been found to have a fractured clavicle, how does this affect your management?

You have a 28 bed ward and your band 7 has phoned in sick, you have the assistance of a band 3 assistant, what do you do?

What are the signs and symptoms of a contracted shoulder? What would your management and advice be?

What would your assessment be of a patient with Type 2 respiratory failure?

What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 respiratory failure?

What conditions would present with type 1 and type 2 respiratory failures?

Interview panel

Why this trust?

Why do you want to be a physio?

Tell us about your placements? Identify your weaknesses and learning needs.

How do you cope with stress?

How have you demonstrated you match the trusts visions and values?

Have you been involved in service improvement? How have you done this?

What would you do if a patients’ relative made a complaint that you weren’t giving them enough physio and that they had been told they would be seen 3 times a day? The patient also has dementia.

What defines a quality service? How can this be measured?

I really love the QE and I had a great placement on ITU and even when I went on an informal visit before my interview I was still shocked at how many different areas there were in the hospital that I wasn’t even aware of. I am still awaiting feedback from both Nottingham and Birmingham but when I receive it I will let you all know what I could have done differently and how this will change how I will prepare for future interviews . In the mean time before I start work on Monday I have another interview at Derby Hospitals NHS Trust at 8.30 am :-S (I am going to be the walking dead by the end of the week) and I have also applied for a bank job with Nottingham CIC Bank.

So I have plenty of stuff to fill you in with in the next couple of weeks, maybe I should say to the interviewer when they ask me why do I want to work their trust that I am fed up of writing my blog about interviews I didn’t get ;-)!

Again any comments are welcome or you can tweet me @LCphysio x

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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