3 minutes with Ellen Louise Hellard

Being a CSP learning champion gives musculoskeletal physio Ellen Louis Hellard another string to her professional bow, including an appearance at an airshow, as she explains below.


What is a learning champion?

The learning champion is a voluntary role, with the aim of promoting continuing professional development (CPD). This might, for example, involve highlighting and facilitating CPD opportunities among colleagues, or helping them to critically evaluate their current CPD practices. We encourage colleagues to think about everyday activities they can use to evidence their CPD. Another responsibility is to ensure that colleagues have accessible CPD resources at work. 

Can anyone volunteer – or are special characteristics needed?

The role is open to anyone with a keen interest in learning and promoting CPD. The CSP’s learning champions network offers loads of information to help engage people with CPD opportunities, but it’s up to you to decide how you want to use it. There is no set way to do things – it’s quite a flexible role and you can decide how active a role you wish to take. I think it’s a great opportunity, whether you’re a senior, band 5 or a student physio, and is a great way to demonstrate your leadership skills. 

How would you apply?

To find out how to do this and for other information, see the Championing CPD webpages or email championingcpd@csp.org.uk 

Is it fun being a champion?

I really enjoy my role of learning champion and it has opened a lot of doors. I took up the role about three years ago when I was working as a private practitioner. As a lone practitioner I was struggling to find CPD opportunities that wouldn’t cost a fortune and would allow me to engage with other physios. It was Jo Etherton that got me involved and invited me to meet up with her at the East of England regional network meeting.
I am now learning champion for the network and speak at the next conference on CPD and preparing for the 2016 Health and Care Professions Council audit. I change jobs every two years or so and now work for the Anglian Community Enterprise based in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex. 
I wanted to use the Physio Works campaign and the importance of our role in self-management and prevention to patients and combine this with a great CPD opportunity for the physios. So with funding from the East of England regional network meeting we are hosting a stand at the annual two-day Clacton air show later this month. All the physio staff from musculoskeletal (MSK) outpatients in Clacton and Harwich will get chance to man the stall for a few hours and promote what we do.

What is your day job and do the two roles complement each other?

In my day job I am a band 6 MSK physio, working in a community-based hospital. My role and activity as a learning champion in my workplace varies from organising the air show stand to offering advice, highlighting CPD opportunities at events such as the East of England regional network meetings, to emailing colleagues an interesting research paper. 
I believe every department, or at least every hospital, should have a learning champion. This is vital in the current climate, where in-service training and course funding is becoming more and more restricted due to time and financial constraints. Learning champions can help to campaign to ensure in-service training is protected, as well as highlighting CPD opportunities to help physio staff keep up-to-date with their professional responsibilities.

Do you go away for summer holidays – or does working in Clacton give you enough of the sun and sea?

To be honest, I don’t go to Clacton beach very often. We tend to do a lot of camping, usually down in Cornwall – Newquay is my favourite place. I usually attempt to surf but mostly body board. Kite surfing is popular in Clacton and I quite fancy giving that a go over the summer. After that, I hope to start planning a trip to Iceland next year.
  • Ellen Louise Hellard is a physiotherapist with Anglian Community Enterprise, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex.  

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