Advice on-board and settling in: my first six months working in the NHS (Part 2)

 

By Darragh Mc Gee @DMGPhysio

Before you go ahead, start with Part 1 of this blog first!

As soon as I felt like I was starting to settle in, it was time to rotate… Welcome to the life of a newly qualified physio! This is exactly why I love it! The variety in the work is exciting. It gives us the opportunity to get out of our comfort zone and learn new things until we find our niche area. The exposure to different clinical environments as students allows us to develop as health professionals and I believe it to be the same when newly qualified: every day is a school day (1).

For me, the next 6 months entail going on-call for the first time with the respiratory physiotherapy team, getting to grips with my new role as a Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) steward and settling into my next rotation (I will find out what it is shortly). I’m very much looking forward to it all.

Figure 2: My previous thoughts answered (see Part 1 of blog!) after starting to work in the MSK outpatient department.

So, how can we improve newly qualified physio’s experience?

Don’t get me wrong; I am grateful for having a vocation that I enjoy, but there’s always room to improve. Here are a few things that I believe are missing within the profession currently, especially as a newly qualified physio.

There could be a greater connection between the newly qualified physios throughout the UK and beyond. I felt as a student we were all on the same boat, we all came into the profession knowing very little and grew together. Now qualified, we are mixed into a team with a vast array of experience and knowledge which can be a bit overwhelming at times. Why not have somewhere to ask the “stupid” questions you’re too embarrassed to ask your senior, a place to share experiences (the good, the bad and the ugly) and what you’ve learned from them… Basically a place to gain motivation when you feel down in the dumps. This is something I hope to work on and develop further, if you want to join me then please do get in touch!

There are examples of where early career health care professionals are supported in this way: see Flying Starts NHS from Scotland as an example of a strategic structure to support newly qualified staff (2). If you are a newly qualified allied health professional, nurse or midwife working in Scotland, then this looks to be a worthwhile programme. Make sure you sign up within your first three months of working though! Also, if you are a physiotherapist who is currently on or completed the programme, please do get in contact, I would love to hear your experiences and what you gained from it!

All in all, what I have learned and seen are that the positives far out-way the challenges. We are autonomous practitioners that get to help individuals overcome and self-manage their conditions, injuries, immobility’s and pain through conservative treatment, in a brilliant healthcare system, that is free of charge for all. Not many people can say that!

So, new physios, it can be a little difficult starting off but that’s normal in any new job, so don’t worry. Work hard, learn as much as you can, take a break when needed and you’ll thrive!

You are not expected to know everything; you develop with time. It’s a journey, so enjoy the ride!

If you have any questions about the transition or you are a student/new physio who wants to talk, feel free to get in contact.

And finally, a big thank you to my brilliant mentor Ann Gates of @exerciseworks who has made a great impact and positive influence on my development from student to qualified and in helping with the blog too.

Thank you for reading!

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Darragh Mc Gee MCSP: You can reach out to me via Twitter @DMGPhysio. And here’s email: mcgee.darragh@gmail.com

References:

  1. Rodger, S., Webb, G., Devitt, L., Gilbert, J., Wrightson, P. and McMeeken, J. (2008) Clinical Education and Practice Placements in the Allied Health Professions: An International Perspective. Journal of Allied Health, 37(1), pp.53-62(10).
  2. National Health Services. (2017) Flying Start NHS: Definitive guide to the programme | Turas | Learn. [online] Available at: https://learn.nes.nhs.scot/1915/flying-start-nhs/flying-start-nhs-definitive-guide-to-the-programme [Accessed 28 Mar. 2019].

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