“People would want to work here it's a nice environment here with a fun, supportive team. It can be stressful dealing with a constant stream of patients but that's also what makes the work really rewarding.”
I am one of a team of 12 people working here in the Physiotherapy Outpatient Department. We help and treat people of all ages with physical problems caused by illness, accident or ageing. My job is to identify the problem and help maximise the patient's mobility using manual therapy and therapeutic exercises. We have clients with all sorts of problems: from victims of car accidents and other acute trauma, to back and neck injuries, sports injuries, elderly people who have had falls and (especially in this area) people who have fallen off horses.
My appointments continue right through the day. First, each patient is interviewed to get their health history. I try to build up a rapport with them, to make a connection, and to get an understanding of the psychological and cultural factors that might come into play.
Good communication skills are important in this job. Sometimes I have to be quite strict - cajoling and persuading people to do their exercises. Other times I need all my counselling skills: it can get quite emotional helping people talk through all the problems that come with a nasty injury. Tears are quite common. My record is five weeping people in one day.
The second part of the appointment is 'hands on' work: easing and manipulating the damaged area, trying to mobilise joints, demonstrating special exercises. The skill is judging what is needed for the injury and when it is needed; deciding what needs to be done at each point in the healing process for its safe return to normal use.
My job also includes dealing with phone enquiries: helping out patients and doctors who contact us for advice. Two or three times a day I have deal with the dreaded Red Box. This is the in-box with referrals from other hospitals, health visitors and local GPs: more client cases that have to be checked through, sorted for urgency and processed.