When I realised I could join the CSP, I felt proud to be able to be a member of a professional body. I have now been a CSP member for over 14 years but it wasn’t until 2014 that I thought about being more involved.
Our opinions matter
It all started with an email from the CSP inviting associate members in Scotland to a focus group. They asked if anyone was willing to come along to an evening event at a local hotel to chat about the membership benefits we value and what we would like to change. Tempted by the offer of a goody bag and cake, I signed up!
There were eight of us who attended and to my surprise, I was the most outspoken. After the event I received an email asking if I would be interested in joining the Scottish Board.
I decided I would first speak to my CSP rep at work and to my direct line manager to see what they thought about the idea. They agreed it was a great opportunity for me develop and when I then asked the overall manager of the department, she was also very supportive so I chose to put myself forward.
Learning more about the CSP and our profession
I went along to my first Scottish Board meeting in December 2014. After the meeting they had an induction for new Board members and there was a get together in the evening which really helped me get to know people better.
My first meeting was a bit overwhelming as I didn’t know what was going on but I felt better when another Board member explained it takes at least a year to get to understand things properly. I also remember Katie Wilkie (Council rep on the Board) coming over to reassure me there was no pressure and letting me know they were all there to help me. And Marie in the CSP Scottish office has been a tremendous support - I know I can always pick up the phone to talk to her!
From the start I have also had fantastic support from everyone at work and it has really helped me knowing I can ask any questions I may have.
I enjoy listening to things that I wouldn’t normally hear about. As an assistant I was not used to hearing the bigger picture but being on the Board has helped me understand what the CSP is, what it does and how members can help to change things. Before I became a rep, I didn’t realise that the CSP had so much influence and could really make a difference.
This experience has helped me both professionally and personally. My confidence has grown and I have a better understanding of issues discussed by physios and of physiotherapy. It’s not just the patient side.
We really can make a difference
My role as a rep is about making a difference and getting the associate voice heard so I want to hear about issues in their world, whatever it may be that is important to them. If I don’t hear from other associates, there is no point me being their rep on the Board!
At the moment I am looking at career progression and researching what makes up a Band 3 and Band 4 role. I would like to hear about their experiences to help me gather evidence so I can see if this is something I can take to the Scottish Board for discussion. In the future I would love to set up a network for associates across Scotland so we can all share our feedback.
Being involved with the CSP has made me want to make a difference for my profession so please get in touch and let me know how I can help Alison.Hamilton@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk
Wherever you are in the UK, you too can make a difference. There are lots of ways to get involved!