Siobhan Harding - BSc Physiotherapy Keele University 2010-2013 (Graduate story)

Current job role: Band 5 rotational physiotherapist at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals (SATH) NHS Trust

My name is Siobhan Harding and I graduated from the School of Health and Rehabilitation (SHAR) with a first class honours degree in physiotherapy and the School of Health and Rehabilitation Prize for Academic Performance in July 2013. I am now employed full time as a junior rotational physiotherapist in the two acute hospitals covering the Shropshire and Powys area.

Since starting work, I have had opportunities to progress professionally within the SATH NHS Trust. My first rotation covered all areas of respiratory, endocrinology, cardiology, renal, medical short stay and A&E services. This has given me the chance to cover my on-call competencies to be on evening and weekend rotas. I have had experience of prioritising and running full wards of complex patients with high end rehabilitation or respiratory needs independently. I have both attended and led in-service training opportunities within the department to continue with professional development.

Another great learning curve has been working alongside Keele University students on placement. This really is a key chance to see how far you have come as a physiotherapist in practice and acknowledging the skills you pick up along the way. It is also important to challenge your understanding of underpinning theory and there really is no better way to do this than verbalising your explanations to students. My next two rotations are scheduled to be Surgery including ITU and neurological rehabilitation. I think ultimately I will end up in an inpatient setting - a big change from when I applied to university. I wanted to work in an elite performers setting with dancers! So the next two rotations will be key to enhancing my management of critically ill patients and in improving my handling skills to achieve the best patient response. 

As a member of the cohort from the first graduating year of the new programme, I feel very well prepared for working at a qualified level. I have found the content of the programme to be very relevant to the needs of a new physiotherapist. Ultimately I have found physiotherapy to be part logical, part creative. If you hone your understanding of pathology, your clinical reasoning skills and you know to treat symptomatically you can't go far wrong! Also I have valued more and more the emphasis on multidisciplinary working in the programme. Being able to help out the nurses and going the extra mile for a patient is a skill that will gain you respect and trust from staff and patients alike.

Looking towards the future, I am hoping to continue on with my studies with SHAR as a post-graduate. Having done nearly a year in practice I feel I would now come to a Masters degree with more insight and maturity and I know that for me that was the best decision. From there I would like to complete the course to become a clinical educator and would consider going into lecturing in my specialist area - whatever that may transpire to be! My time associated with Keele, both as an undergraduate and from their support as part of their alumni, really has been a pleasure and has made the transition from student to physiotherapist very easy.