Meet future physiotherapist: Laura Mitchell
23rd August 2021
Here’s what she had to say!
What led you to study physiotherapy?
– I always knew I didn’t want to be stuck behind a desk all day as I enjoy being with people. After contemplating various carers with little inspiration, I was inspired by a family friend who is a physiotherapy lead in Sussex. She gave me an insight into the profession and helped me organise work experience which made me realise that physiotherapy is for me and I have been passionate ever since. Through this I was shown how valuable physiotherapy is to a person’s quality of life, by enabling them to achieve their goals in a meaningful way. I love that no day is ever the same, there’s always a challenge, and it’s so rewarding knowing you’ve made a different to someone’s life.
– After completing my placements, I plan to do band 5 rotations where I hope to find out which speciality is best suited to me. As it stands, I have an interest in paediatrics, specifically those with complex disabilities, however I am also loving my current stroke placement. I’ve been so lucky with the opportunities I’ve been given throughout my degree, and I will continue in my endeavour to explore more specialities to ensure I have a broad range of experiences under my belt before I specialise. Additionally, I will also strive to be the best advocate I can be, for physiotherapists and AHPs!
What would you say is the most difficult part about being a student physiotherapist?
– Physiotherapy is a challenging degreeand can be very intense at times. Something that I’ve struggled with, and continually try to perfect, is finding the right work-life balance. It can be very easy to spend all your time on reading, researching, and revising due to wanting to achieve the best grades you can, however I’ve learnt this isn’t an effective approach. It’s so important to spend time with friends, family, and looking after yourself. Don’t burn out!
Quickly walk us through a day in the life of a student physiotherapist.
– I am a keen runner, so I usually start the day with a jog to get away from computer screens, organise my thoughts and get some well needed fresh air. I think as aspiring physiotherapists we are a very active student group, so exercise will always feature in our day, whether it’s a run, a gym session, a walk etc. I would usually have at least two hours of lectures a day, sometimes four or five, these would vary between practical sessions, lectures, and seminars. Then evenings typically entail having dinner and chatting with my housemates, either followed by any outstanding pre-reading for the following day or going out with friends. However, this has been changed to a mix learning approach due to the pandemic, meaning that lectures are online and I’m only on campus for practical skills.
Top piece of advice for anyone wanting to go down this path?
– Enjoy every step of the way and make the most of every opportunity you’re given. Know, or look, at the full scope of a physiotherapist, it’s not just MSK! It’s incredible where we can be needed and what we can do! If your passion lies with improving the quality of life and function of others, this is the career path for you, the opportunities are endless.
Some of your favourite parts of the physio student experience so far?
– I was fortunate to spend 6 weeks volunteering at a trust for people with profound disabilities. I loved every minute of this experience, it developed my confidence, non-verbal communication and developing my professional identity. Additionally, I’ve volunteered at one of the UK’s leading centres for children and young people with complex neurodisabilities. Both of these experiences were incredible, I learnt a lot about my self as a professional and how to enable people to be as independent and functional as they can be. Another significant part of my journey so far is all the like minded students and professionals I’ve met all the way that share the same passion, and are so supportive.