Make your Weaknesses your Strengths!

I am writing this post following a roller coaster of a week. I feel completely emotionally and physically drained, and I even started question why I am putting myself through this. I know that is stupid I’ve only had 4 interviews (which I am completely thankful for) , but I think after 4 rejections in such a short space of time it does knock your confidence.  But as the title of the post claims you need to make your weaknesses your strengths and carry on.

Tough-Day-At-The-Office

So  I started on Monday with an interview at Derby Hospitals NHS trust. Due to me working with Worcester Warriors Community again this week, I had arranged my interview for 8.30 am so I could do both. Most people who know me, know I like to be organised and on time. I think I got a bit excited as I appeared to be waiting outside the interview room at 7.30 am (but better to be an hour early than 5 minutes late). So the Derby interview was based on a series of scenarios. There were 4 rooms, 3 scenarios and 1 personal interview , each room had 2 practitioners (I felt like I was on the apprentice and Lord Sugar was going to come out and say your fired or hired!!).

The first room I was in was the personal interview which I was thankful for to break the ice. Some of the questions I got asked were:

  • Tell us about you?
  • What do you think about customer service?
  • Tell us about a situation where you have had to motivate a team?
  • How do you deal with stress?

There was a few more questions but I can’t remember them all. From my previous interview at the QE I felt I shut off and needed some prompts to keep speaking (I think the nerves probably got the better of me). So on this interview I tried to keep speaking until they shut me up.

The second room was a respiratory case study (resp and neuro tend to be my weaker areas mainly because I have had less experience in them) but I felt I was able to work through the case study fairly. There were things when I came out that I could have included but I suppose when your under pressure some things don’t always come to the front of your mind.

The third was MSK, which if do say so myself I blasted. Typical presentation of a frozen shoulder but with a past medical history of a mastectomy (which can have an impact on the shoulder due to radio/chemotherapy sometimes causing tightness) so they wanted some discussion around this.

Finally was a neuro case study. They wanted to know what you know about stroke? What your goals for discharge would be? What would you do if a patient was being discharged by a doctor but you weren’t happy? Again there were some others but I can’t remember the rest.

So overall I felt a lot more comfortable in this interview but I sometimes felt I deviated from the point in the personal interview. So we were due to hear feedback on the Wednesday but I didn’t hear anything. One of my friends had already received an email to say that unfortunately they had been unsuccessful, so due to not hearing anything I thought I would be in with a chance…..But no phone call…..I rang the trust today to find out the decision but unfortunately I had been unsuccessful.  I think I had got my hopes up as I had felt comfortable in the interview and due to others receiving emails… but they just hadn’t sent mine. So as you can imagine I was pretty gutted. The feedback I got was that sometimes I was not concise in my answers for the personal section (which at the QE I was too concise and closed) so I need to find a happy medium. The only other point they made was that I could have been more evaluative in my respiratory case study (which I suppose comes with experience). They were positive in saying I was employable (BUT THEY DIDN’T EMPLOY ME GAHHHH HAHA) but unfortunately they said it was very competitive. On the other hand I did get the offer of bank work off the back of it so fingers crossed that might lead to something else (fingers and toes crossed).

I have another interview for Nottingham CIC bank 4th September so I can let you all know how that goes (I think soon I will have had an interview at every trust it feels…. so I will be the guru of interview questions).

From my previous post, I had discussed my interview at the QE, which I received feedback for on Monday. I scored 23/51 on the question paper again did well on MSK (but lacked some detail, for example I might have said ROM exercises but not specified which ones) and to my surprise respiratory was OK but I wasn’t detailed enough in the orthopaedic question.  They said I came across well in the personal interview but just missed some of the buzz words and sometimes required some prompts (more nerves than not having enough to say). But again I am on reserve list for 3 months so hopefully something might come up.

So for my next interview things I will be working on:

  • Preparing points for generic interview questions so I can be more concise.
  • Ensuring my CPD folder is linked to the post.
  • Learn to relax!!!
  • Finally work through some more respiratory and neuro case studies.

Like I said above I have been back at the Worcester Warriors this week, but working with under 12’s. It is fair to say under 12’s are a lot more demanding, not necessarily in relation to injuries but more in relation to their behavior, but we have great staff at the camps and  everything got done in the end. I am back at the camps again next week for a final week so I will update you then. Tomorrow I will be up very early to head over to West Bromwich Albion Football Club for an induction, so I am looking forward to that (but maybe not the early start after this week). But again you have to embrace opportunities that come your way.

Thank you again for taking the time to read my blog. If you have any questions feel free to comment or tweet me @LCphysio !

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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

Time to Reflect!

So I am feeling in a reflective mood following a hectic week  (I have to apologise to my boyfriend as he told me to reflect a bit to early on when everything was a bit raw and I wasn’t very grateful for his advice, but I have come round). When I last posted I had one interview at Birmingham. Since then I have received 3 more! At Nottingham, Derbyshire Community and Derby Hospitals NHS Trust.  This week I have had one at Nottingham, one at Birmingham  and a telephone interview with Derbyshire community. Fair to say it has been quite stressful and I feel physically and emotionally exhausted. I am going to talk about my Nottingham and Derbyshire community interviews as those are the ones I have heard back from which unfortunately have been unsuccessful, but like the title of the blog is it’s time to reflect.

So I had my Nottingham interview on the Monday, luckily for me my mum volunteered to drive me so I could chill out and focus on the interview. With the interview being in the afternoon I had spent all morning pacing up and down so I had kinda wished my interview had been in the morning to get it over and done with. When I got there I had to go straight to HR to give in documents which was a fair distance to walk and not very easy to find so I was glad I gave myself plenty of time, though I was so flustered when I finally got back to the reception to wait for my interview.

So the interview came around, I had two female interviewers who were both very pleasant and took it in turns to ask questions. The questions I can remember were:

  • Why did you want to work for the trust?
  • What attributes would you bring to the post as a band 5?
  • How would you differentiate between acute hamstring and sciatica? Treat one of them.
  • You have a patient who has a left sided infarct. What would you expect to find on assessment and what would you tell your colleagues to help them if they were going to be treating them?
  • What are your learning needs to be able to go out on respiratory on call?
  • Questions on trusts values and behaviours.
  • You have a patient who has dementia the team is happy for him to go home but you have concerns how would you deal with it?
  • How would you show a patient they were cared for?
  • What would you do if your senior wasn’t using the proper hand washing technique?
  • You are on an orthopaedic ward with 28 beds. What would you do if you were the only qualified member of staff because your senior is off sick?

I’m sure there were more but these are the ones I can remember. I am yet to receive feedback as I have to wait 2 weeks, but on reflection one of the big questions I messed up on was the orthopaedic ward one! (which I will be gutted about if that was the only thing I didn’t do right as I have been having nightmares about it). Basically I answered it by talking about getting handover, having a team meeting to see who could help out and then work from there. If I had my brain switched on I would have talked about the importance of prioritising patients and delegating to the physio assistant which I didn’t gahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!

Another question I could have gone into more detail about was my learning needs to go on call. Not only do I need more experience in dealing with respiratory patients along with the mandatory training. But I also could have talked about being trained on equipment such as mechanical ventilation etc. Hind sight is a great thing!!! There maybe more things I could have done but I will await feedback and will post as soon as I do.

This Thursday I had 2 interviews. I had Birmingham in the morning and a telephone interview in the afternoon as part of a short listing process for the community post. Like I said before I will talk more about the Birmingham interview when I get feedback not holding out too much as there was only 1 post available and 8 candidates were internal!!! Urggh physio is sooo competitive. So for my telephone interview I was asked 4 questions. This job would have been ideal as it is 5 minutes from my house but anyway. All candidates were asked the same questions the first 3 I coped with fine and the interviewer didn’t have any comments to make on them and because they were OK I can’t for the life of me remember them. I think there were:

What makes a good band 5 physiotherapist in the community?

How would you go about maintaining safety in the community?

I can’t remember the 3rd one!

But the 4th one I remember clear as day because I completely fluffed it!!! I was asked to talk about a neurological patient I had seen and to talk about there management and treatment. Now this sounds a straight forward question and it would have been if I had been asked it again but at the time I was so drained from my previous interview that my brain yet again failed me. My pure neuro placement had been my first 2nd year one and I felt I would have been to vague with my answer to discuss one of my patients because it was such a long time ago so I decided to go with one of my patients I had seen on my second to last placement (who actually really wasn’t a true neurological patient so I really shot myself in the foot). This was the question that prevented me getting shortlisted and if I was asked the same question again I would have answered it completely differently. I would have talked about one of my stroke patients, the patient’s symptoms, physio treatment, outcome measures, and MDT involvement but my brain wasn’t quick enough to process the question.

So all in all I was pretty gutted about the Nottingham post as it looked a great hospital to work at, but a better physio was found on the day. I still have the QE to hold out for which is my number one place to work but after hearing there is only one position I am starting to doubt myself :(!

So anyway lets end on a positive so apart from interviews today I have had the opportunity to attend a meeting with West Bromwich Albion Football club with Head Academy Physiotherapist Simon Noad. My role with the club will be on a voluntary basis and will involve assisting the part time physiotherapists with any of the U16 players… a foot in the door you might say. I am really grateful to Gerard Greene for passing on my CV to Simon and I look forward to telling you about my experiences.

So although I am not telling you how happy I am about securing a job I am back on a positive mind set after writing this piece and I am just taking that those jobs were not meant for me. I start the camps with Worcester Warriors next week so watch this space 🙂 !! Again if anyone has any comments please post them on here or tweet me at @LCphysio xx

You get out what you put in!

Woo Hoo, I finally have an interview at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS trust, which is the trust I wanted to work for if I was to return to Birmingham.

 

I had previously done my ITU placement at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and was amazed at the variety of areas physios were working in. I can remember on my first day walking into the QE staff room, after having a placement at Evesham,with 5 physios, to be met with hundreds of physios and feeling a little overwhelmed. However, the team I was working with were great and I learnt so much in the 6 weeks I was there. So with regards to the interview I will keep you updated with how it goes, I am currently in the process of organising my CPD folder and revising my whole degree in one week :-S!!

As you may remember from my previous blog post, I have secured a position working with the Worcester Warriors on their summer camps. I have just had the timetable for the first week and it sounds great. I am really looking forward to taking part in the injury prevention screening and I will write up a piece so you can see what I learnt from the experience.

Throughout my time as a student I have been heavily involved with the CSP which has opened many opportunities for me. For people reading this with no background in Physiotherapy, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is the largest membership organisation for physiotherapy. The CSP is a member-led organisation governed by an elected Council. They provide a wide range of member services and campaign on behalf of all physiotherapy staff and the physiotherapy profession. A misconception by many is that the Health and care professions council (HCPC) will stand up for physiotherapists if a complaint has been filed against them, this is not the case as the HCPC looks out for patients. So if you did face a situation where your practice was under scrutiny it would be the CSP who have your back!!

When I was a student, a lot of students could not see value for money by joining  the society, however, I am a firm believer of you get out what you put in. As a CSP student member you get access to the CSP library, iCSP (which professionals use as a forum to discuss relevant issues), you can become part of professional networks, get access to pebble pad, receive a fortnightly magazine, get many discounts at different retailers and  much more.  As a student I was helped out by the CSP at University. During my return to second year (as I had a year out due to injury), I was going straight back out on placement. On the first day of my stroke placement I got a phone call from University saying “you can’t be on placement as you are not registered as a student “. At this point I had already worked myself up for this day in returning back to University and had re-registered online but there was obviously a problem with their system. Luckily for me after discussion with the CSP I was allowed to remain at the hospital because I was a member phewww!!

So the whole point of me talking about the CSP is to show you what I got out of it, there are so many opportunities within the CSP website to get involved in (although you sometimes have to look as although the website is improving is still not great). For any prospective physiotherapy student reading this becoming a student representative for the CSP enabled me to to contribute to policy, present at conferences, sit on the West Midlands Regional network and set up an Unemployed Graduate Scheme which helps you stand out whilst looking for a job.  As a student representative you don’t have to do as much as I did but the skills I have developed such as communication, leadership and time management are all transferable for the benefit of my patients and future career.

From above I mentioned I was involved in the West Midlands Regional Network.  Each region of the UK has a regional network which are always looking for students to be involved. Last Friday I had a conference call with the communication team which is a  new role for me on the network . My role will try to communicate messages and integrate newly qualifieds’ into the West Midlands Regional Network. The meeting was initiated to discuss strategies to improve the West Midlands Network and how we would achieve this. My contribution was that although the website has improved we are still missing a huge market by using social media (i.e Facebook and twitter) which I will be looking to peruse for the network alongside Daniel Jackson who has taken over my role of Midlands Regional Coordinator for students.

I hope you have taken away something from my blog and If you have any questions about being involved with the CSP  drop me a message on here or twitter @lucycocker1.

Links below:

CSP Website: http://www.csp.org.uk/

West Midlands Regional Network: http://www.csp.org.uk/nations-regions/west-midlands

Look out for the West Midlands Network Study Day: http://www.csp.org.uk/network-events/monday-16th-september-2013-cpd-study-day-930am-4pm-worcester?networkid=447

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