Amy Baines, Senior Occupational Health Physiotherapist (Central) talks about her passion for occupational health as a career choice.
“In the NHS or private practice, you can only influence the person in front of you, whereas in occupational health you can influence the working environment in order to prevent future injuries.”
I studied sport and biology at college
I was a keen footballer, playing for Stockport County as a teenager, and was interested in the human body, so it was natural for me to choose a career that combined the two. I then went to Manchester Metropolitan University to study physiotherapy, initially with the idea of becoming a sports physio, but quickly discovered that I was more interested in the MSK outpatient side of things. I knew I didn’t want to work for the NHS as a graduate, as you have to do rotations and I was already clear about my area of specialism. I worked in private practice for a time, dealing with sports injuries, personal injury claims and other MSK complaints, but felt the organisation didn’t share the same values as myself.
I moved to Connect because of a former colleague
I knew my colleague was very particular in where he worked, and wouldn’t go somewhere that wasn’t a great organisation to work for. He said Connect was flexible and really cared about its staff. I was looking for a new opportunity at the time so I went for it.
My perception of occupational health was completely wrong before I worked in it
Historically, I thought it was a bit of a paper-pushing exercise, deciding if someone was well enough to return to work or not.
It’s actually turned out to be everything I wanted to do in MSK with the added benefit of being able to influence the way people work to stop injuries happening in the future.
It’s like an outpatient clinic in terms of the patients you see
Some patients are booked in and some just drop in to see you. Seeing people in their workplace is really beneficial because you gain a better understanding of what they actually do. It makes it much easier to give specific advice to people if you’ve seen, for example, the machine they work on. You get better follow up because people are more likely to show up to appointments. You can also make recommendations to managers to help prevent other people suffering the same injury.
It’s such an interesting job and the team I work in is fantastic.
Straight away I noticed how supportive Connect Health was
It was a real change of culture for me; in my old job you never saw managers or business influencers. Connect is very staff-centred, you’re not someone who just treats the patients and brings in the income. You are actually cared for and nurtured as an individual.
I love the variety in this job
You get so many different opportunities and experiences that you wouldn’t get in other organisations. I go to different clinics every day and get to do everything from workplace assessments to manual handling and in-service training; you wouldn’t do this if the patient was an outpatient. One day I can be working at a cardboard box factory, the next on a TV set. Food factories are the most interesting; I now have inside knowledge of how biscuits are made!
Connect Health is a brilliant company to work for, it’s fun and supportive.
Some days are long days, some are short days and I also work one day at home. I usually work on PhysioLine on a Friday. Every day is different, but I get more time out of work to do the things that I enjoy.
Connect has really supported me in getting my masters
Previously I was working 40 hours and going to University as well, but Connect have given me a day off to study when I have needed it. It makes such a difference. I’ve just finished my Advanced Physiotherapy Masters now.
It’s a two-way street; you give to the company but they give back in return
For example, there’s some travel involved in my job, but I get the time I need to do my Master’s. It’s a company that recognises and rewards hard work, which is really motivating. And it’s not just management, it’s everyone. If you cover work for people when they need it, they will cover for you in return. It’s a real team environment and we all help each other out.
Connect is somewhere you can progress
I’d like to gain more experience in the company and then look to advancing into more senior roles. I’ve recently put my name forward for some new contracts; it’s a place where you’re given opportunities, you just have to put yourself forward. I’d tell anyone who was in a similar situation to the one I was in to step out of their comfort zone and put themselves out there.
Physio’s a small world – you’ve got to give and you get back.
If you’d like to find out more about working at Connect, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Download the full Amy Baines – People Story here