Retired after 29 years, Chris Greenwell assisted physiotherapists in three hospitals in Nuneaton.
I joined at the very beginning, 21 years ago, as I wanted assistants to be part of the CSP. I got elected onto the Physiotherapy Assistants Board (PAB) because I wanted us to have equal rights as trained staff.
Has your career path been different from the way you expected it to go?
After helping to deliver my friend's baby, I wanted to become a midwife. I started in maternity as a nursing auxilliary, but rules changed and I would have had to do three years nurses training plus two years midwifery. I decided against it, applied for a physio assistant job and the rest is history.
What have been your most enjoyable experiences in your career?
I love meeting and talking to people and feel humbled at the traumas that some have endured. Being elected onto the PAB and then as assistant rep on council are the ones that stand out.
What have been your biggest surprises in your career?
Being the first assistant to be made a vice-president of the CSP. It is an honour that I treasure to this day.
How did the CSP help in your career?
Over the years, with many debates on assistants' issues discussed at council, assistants of today have a career structure, more opportunities and are really much better off.
Do you have any funny stories to share?
At the annual representatives conference one year I arrived at my room to find two men fitting a new door and that I should come back at bed time when all would be done. When I arrived again later, the room had no curtain, no light, no hot water and a broken toilet! When I reported this to reception, they suggested I knocked my neighbour's door (a young male student) if I need to use their toilet. When I said that I couldn't do that, they gave me a bucket to use in case of an emergency!
If you could give one message to your peers from what you have learnt in your career, what would it be?
If you want to make changes, get elected on to committees and don't be afraid to voice your opinions. Everything is achievable if you work for it.
- Read more stories from the Associates 21st anniversary celebration