I’ve been given very professional training, despite the COVID-19 emergency

Sneha Mistry, Senior Occupational Health Physiotherapist, Central Region, describes her experience of joining Connect Health during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how this impacted on her induction and first few weeks of work.

I was due to start working with Connect Health on 1st April, so I wasn’t quite sure what would happen due to the virus

Connect Health got in touch with me and asked if I was still happy to start and I said yes. They were very agile in responding to the COVID-19 emergency, and my induction programme was modified several times in the weeks leading up to me starting. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to complete the usual face to face induction format. However, a varied, stimulating, interesting and effective timetable of events was produced instead. Connect Health was very quick to adapt its induction processes and enable me to feel safe and supported in my new role.

In some ways, I have had a broader induction because it was virtual

It took a bit longer because of the limitations of virtual training, but it was very thorough and perhaps had a wider scope. I listened to lots of clinics and spoke to more people than would otherwise have been the case, giving me a broader range of training. I have had more interactions with the team as clinics have been a bit quieter. I spent the first week learning about the company, support functions, systems, and services and the second week virtually shadowing colleagues.

My induction has been very varied and given me a great insight

I’ve possibly been given more clinical supervision due to the current environment and limitations of virtual training. It has consisted of a variety of virtual shadowing, clinical reasoning, report writing and discussing relevant functional return to work programmes.

It’s difficult because I haven’t seen the sites in person, but we’ve found ways round this.

To assist in my role, there are very detailed operational manuals for each site, which includes photos. This has given me insight with regards to the different work roles. Clients have been very amenable in sharing further site photos and videos as appropriate. Assistance has also been gained by other members of the Connect Health team who are very knowledgeable of the client sites.

“I like everything about Connect Health. The team is really friendly, and everyone is so supportive.”

I had a few roles before moving to Connect Health.

I have worked in private practice and the NHS in both primary and secondary care, and in the community, including as a disability assessor. I missed the hands-on side of things in my last role, treating employees and seeing their working environments. So, my new role is great for me; helping people in their workplaces, whether that’s office or factory-based.

Although I couldn’t work onsite, I’m still really enjoying the workplace assessments and treatments.

I am now at the point where I am running two virtual occupational health clinics across two sites, taking over from the two previous physios who used to run them. I provide desk-based and workplace assessments, and I run exercise classes for one of the sites. It has been really interesting to see employees in the factory and get to understand their roles. I see a lot of shoulder, lower back and knee injuries due to repetitive overhead activity and kneeling down on the floor to work. I am seeing improvements in employees within the first couple of weeks, which is really rewarding.

We’ve been using technology a lot more as a result of the pandemic.

We use the Physitrack programme to videocall employees, especially those that may be at home. Or we can phone them on their mobiles or on a phone in a quiet room at work. Physitrack also enables us to provide support to people digitally, e.g. home exercises, teaching resources, videos and condition specific information leaflets. We can also use the system to monitor compliance and see how much they have  been doing the exercises prescribed. Some employees have found this harder than others, but on the whole people have been impressed with the fact that we can use technology to maintain their diagnosis and treatment. There are some conditions that you need to see, but technology allows me to do this safely.

There are great career opportunities

I feel that Connect Health will give me every opportunity to progress my career. Every day is different because of the range of services they offer, and there are lots of different pathways you can try if you want to specialise. There is a lot of scope for progression, and I’ve never had such good training.

I’ve felt really supported, both on the clinical side and in general

It was a strange time to join a new company, but at no point have I felt unsupported. A key component of this, has been due to good communication between the team members. They are really flexible; if there was anything I needed more support with, they arranged the time for me to manage to have that input. I really feel that Connect Health has invested in seeing me improve as a clinician.

I’m still on probation but I’ve had some really good feedback

Other team members have reported that I’ve picked things up quickly, and there’s been excellent feedback from the sites I’m working with. The COVID-19 emergency meant it felt a bit strange starting at first, but I had such good support that within a couple of weeks it felt normal and it’s good to be offering support to employees at a time when they may be anxious and unable to be seen in clinic or by their GP.

Connect Health is still recruiting, and I’d recommend them to anyone.

 

If you’d like to find out more about working at Connect Health, contact hr@connecthealth.co.uk

Click here to download Sneha Mistry’s Story

 

“Sneha has been able to effectively manage her occupational health physio case load virtually and independently. She has been able to communicate effectively with the sites regarding any restrictions or return to work plans and has adapted really well.”

Claire Duffield, Senior Occupational Health Physiotherapist and Team Leader OPS – Central team