I always knew I wanted to be a physio
I’ve always done sports, representing team GB at softball when I was 14 and played football for Norwich City ladies. I’ve had injuries and been fascinated by what bodies are capable of and how they heal. This combination of sport, the biological aspects coupled with a real interest in helping people resulted in me pursuing a physio career.
I studied at Kings College, London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, doing a BSc and my placements in London, followed by 2.5 years on band 5 rotations at Imperial College. I was holding out for a MSK role which did not become available.
Therefore, I joined Connect Health in January 2019 on the Advanced Development Programme (ADP) working in Camden and after 8 months, secured a senior role.
The ADP was brilliant, comprehensive and very advanced
There are separate modules for each joint, looking at each pathology, how to assess and treat. Once a fortnight you had a whole day of teaching, preparing us clinically with a focus on rehab.
In June 2020, I relocated to the North East as my partner secured a junior doctor role in Durham and I worked for 6 months as a locum in an elderly care unit due to Covid disrupting my Connect Health role transfer. I now work in the South Tyneside service as a senior MSK physio from December 2020.
I like that the role is rehab focused
You get to do gym-based rehab sessions and clinically everyone you work with is up to date with the evidence base, so you know you are all moving in one direction together.
The job crafting programme ‘Be who you want to be’ tailors the role to you
It takes into account not just your objectives but helps your team leader learn about you as a person, what motives you both personally and in your work life. There is also a part about what drains you, so it takes a holistic view and helps to make your goals more achievable.
Personal role tailoring has made a real difference to me
It can be something really small and, for me personally, I’m someone who likes to move so we changed the way we hold meetings by going on a walk. My Quarter 4 supervision therefore consisted of a 20 minute walk with 20 minutes writing it up – this is a great example of crafting my role to be personal to me and getting more out of me as a person.
I use a standing desk if I’m carrying out review appointments which helps me to move and think – it works for me.
The biggest benefit of working at Connect Health is the development opportunities
It always feels there is something to develop you, like being involved in an innovative project. This encourages you to plan your career next step.
Connect Health gives a better work life balance
You get a day off on your birthday and compared to the NHS where I worked Christmas, New Year and all of my Birthdays, Connect offers a much better work life balance. The management here really care about your wellbeing which is so important.
Patients are presenting with more complex issues
The pandemic has meant that patients have had added complexity and mental health pressures. Patients may have become deconditioned, perhaps through home working, bereavement, job loss, changes to social security and all of this can affect your MSK health. I’ve seen people come through with all of these things.
You have to be able to deal with the intensity, but there is a lot of support.
The career opportunities are second to none
A team leader role is where I see my skill set best suited both from the clinical side and people manager side. We’ve set a development plan over the next few months for me to get to that point. I’d like to stay in the NE as I love it here. I’m also doing some Pilates instructor training too.
Don’t be afraid to push yourself out of your comfort zone – that’s how you learn
If you are planning a move, do your research and you’re lucky that Connect Health has lots of information online and managers are really approachable and happy to discuss different roles.
The ADP gave me a really good standing to go onto a senior role and allowed me to push forward from there.
Access Rebecca’s recent appearance on the ‘Chewing it Over’ podcast here.
If you’d like to find out more about working at Connect Health, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to download Rebecca Gray’s Story