This month marks a whole year since my registration came through. Yay!

That’s one whole incredible year since leaving Coventry University, and becoming a physiotherapist. In that time, I’ve started and settled in to work, completed three rotations, and (most importantly) delivered care to hundreds of patients. It really has been an amazing year and I’ve really enjoyed helping people through doing what physios do. In my mind, there is no better way to help people than reducing their pain and bringing them back to living their life and because of this it seems to have passed by super quickly.  After a year, I realise I am not the same practitioner I was (hopefully in a good way!), so wanted to share a few of the things I’ve enjoyed and what helped me in my first year.

  • My favourite part: Finding your own style While a student, you tend to follow the style of your educator (after all, they’re marking you). However, many things in physiotherapy aren’t black or white – there are different ways of communicating, explaining, teaching, and even variation in the same techniques. When you qualify, you get more time to explore what works for you, and also to try them on different patients and see what they respond best to, thereby developing your own style as a practitioner.
  • What hasn’t changed: Keep asking questions As a student, there’s a lot I didn’t know. As a qualified practitioner, there’s still a lot I don’t know. Having the confidence to ask and learn is still an invaluable skill to improve myself and the service I can deliver. Nobody will ever know everything, and anyone that thinks that is in a dangerous situation (for both themselves and their patients).
  • What I’ve needed to remind myself: This is not just a job, this is people’s lives – We are in a privileged position of seeing people at their most vulnerable and being able to offer them help and support. No matter what we might have going on, how stressed we are, what our colleagues are doing and so on, we can still make impact and make that the best experience for the patient as possible. I know I’ve certainly been guilty of forgetting this or letting stress get to me, but my challenge for the remainder of the year is to smile at every patient and person I see. It’s the very least we can do for anyone, and sometimes the most, but it can be exactly what they need in a scary hospital environment.
  • What helped me most: Stay connected – Some days are stressful in healthcare. That you have to accept. Sometimes you’re stretched, sometimes no matter what you do the patient doesn’t get better, and sometimes things don’t go to plan. Staying connected with yourself and how you are feeling helps you to make sense of these days, take time to be kind to yourself, prepare yourself for the next day or the next patient. Staying connected with others (outside of work) gives you a place for downtime and refreshment, as well as help if you need it. Staying connected with other healthcare professionals inspires and drives the passion to keep doing what I’m doing, even on days where you just want to give it all up. For me, I am lucky to have connected with amazing people on social media (in particular the rest of Team @WeAHPs) who have challenged, inspired and supported me through my first year. Thanks to social media, it’s open to everyone to create the connections and networks to get and contribute to this.

All in all, it truly has been a fantastic year and I’ve seen many great things in my patients and my colleagues as I’ve taken my first few steps in the world of physiotherapy which inspire me for the next, but those were just a few of the lessons which stood out to me from this last year. Realising how I have changed from last year is exciting and I can’t wait for my next year as a physiotherapist. And the next. And the next. And the next…