Connect’s Graduate Development Programme fast tracked my career

Quratulain Basit (Annie), Senior MSK Clinician at Connect Health, tells us about her journey from Pakistan to the UK, and how her career got a boost after joining the Graduate Development Programme (GDP).

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My family are doctors and they had a big influence on my career

Whilst at school, I was always interested in biology and so took all sciences in my GCSEs. I have always been interested in healthcare due to coming from a medical family. I was torn between physio and dentistry at the time of applying to colleges. I am glad to have chosen physio as my profession, mostly due to the impact physiotherapy rehabilitation has on a patient’s life. To be able to understand physical function of the human body and bring back independent mobility of a person through simple movements is very rewarding.

 

I undertook the programme Doctor of Physical Therapy – a 5 year physiotherapy programme in Pakistan

I started my physio degree in 2013. Whilst awaiting my final results, I moved to the UK – having just got married. During this time, I worked on my HCPC (Health Care Professional Council) application to have everything ready by the time my results came out. Things like evidencing the curriculum I had been studying from Pakistan, references, IETLS exam, etc. On graduating, I then applied to HCPC to get registered as a physiotherapist in the UK.

 

I applied to other places, but I was keener on this role

On getting the licence, I started applying to different places for jobs and internships. After a few months into this process, I found out about the Graduate Development Programme at Connect Health and applied in March 2020. I was then selected for the first round – based on my resume and cover letter, which was a recorded interview, recorded online at home. It includes a few questions about yourself, your education, any previous experiences, values and your approach to clinical practise. Following this, I was invited to the second round of interviews which was a face to face interview and a presentation of a case study.

 

The GDP is an excellent transition from your college life to working life

I was offered the job and joined Connect Health in December 2020 as a graduate physio. It was the perfect transition from academic to working life as you get a lot of teaching and support for practise along with managing your own clinical caseload. I was particularly keen to join this programme as this was going to be my first job here and it felt like I would require a little extra help than someone who had graduated in the UK. There was a difference of setup and practise, but working with the Hammersmith and Fulham team – I did not feel stranded. The approachability and the support offered by your colleagues, seniors, and administrative staff is great. Anytime you are stuck, you can knock on a colleague’s door and they are there for you.

 

What I really like is everyone is really approachable

During my work and studies in Pakistan this was something that I found to be lacking. To speak to a senior member of staff you would have to go through levels of admin. I personally found that discouraging. As a result of this gap in contact and communication, your learning and relationship with an experienced clinician becomes very limited. I didn’t find this at Connect. Everyone from an ADP to a CATS clinician is very approachable, helping and comfortable to talk to.

 

Connect offers a really good starting point in your career, offering a superb learning opportunity

Even though I’ve passed the GDP now, there are still lots of learning opportunities and educational sessions with CPD time allocated to us. I can use that time however I like. I can ask a senior clinician to shadow their clinic. I can also request them to watch my clinic and give their feedback. I can also use this time to go somewhere else or use it for self-study.

 

I joined as a graduate and now I’m a senior clinician

My GDP ended in Dec 2021. By the end of it we have a final assessment which is a clinical viva type interview. Before my final assessment, some senior roles opened up in our clinic. My line manager advised me to apply for this position and so I did. I was fortunate enough to have been accepted and was successful through both rounds of interviews. I’m very pleased with the progress I have made so far and the guidance and appreciation I have received for it. I’m very much looking forward to excelling in this role of a senior MSK clinician. The next step for me would be to look further into a speciality and enrol in a specialist masters programme.

 

My advice to other graduates – take your placements very seriously

As a student, you will have to study the theory parts of your degree to clear your exams well, but what is equally important is the practical aspect of it. It is when you start your practical work that you start leaning towards a specialty that you would like to further work in. Your placements are not only important for hands on learning, but also for networking and building relationships with other people who are already working in that specialty.

 

If you are looking to work in the field of MSK, Connect Health is a great place to work

As a graduate physio, the GDP of Connect Health is a great starting point of your career. It provides an excellent learning experience and a lot of support. There is a variety of clinics and caseloads as well. For a lot of patients, it will be the first time you are speaking to them. So you have the triage aspect of identifying the right patients for physio. In daily practise, there are a lot of treatment options available as well. There are face to face assessment clinics, rehab sessions in the gym, exercise classes, shockwave therapy and our senior clinicians can do injections as well.

 

From an MSK point of view you get to experience a lot

As a graduate, the first few months can be a bit challenging as you are new to everything. Your day to day assessments and documentation can be time consuming. But after a few months you get much faster. This can initially make you feel a bit overwhelmed, but know that it will soon get better.

 

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

Click here to download Quratulain Basit’s Story

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