Margot Streatfield is one of a number of support workers in Leeds who have grasped opportunities to develop their role and display leadership skills in a community setting.
Enjoying an expanded role
How did your career begin?
I started working for the children’s physiotherapy service in Leeds in 2003 as a part-time band 3 assistant in a specialist inclusive learning centre (SILC). I love working in a SILC setting and especially enjoy delivering rebound therapy. One young man who sticks in my mind was unable to move independently and had no communication skills. We put him on the trampoline in a supine position with pillows and rolled up towels to obtain symmetry. We then did gentle bounces while singing nursery rhymes. I will never forget how he would relax his limbs and look at me with smiley eyes.
How have you increased your qualifications?
In 2007 I completed my NVQ level 3 in health and social care. I found this challenging, but very rewarding, as I left school aged 15, which was quite a long time ago. I had not done any formal training since then. In 2008 the opportunity arose to apply for a band 4 physiotherapy assistant position and I was lucky enough to succeed. My hours changed accordingly to 30 hours with a year-round contract.
Describe the various roles you undertake
My main duties in this role were to support our team of six assistants and to organise and run our orthotic clinics, which then ran three days a week covering six venues. In 2010 the children’s physiotherapy service was chosen to take part in a service improvement project called ‘the Leeds Approach’, which involved working through modules that would improve the way in which we worked. We decided to use our orthotic clinics as the focus of the project as we felt this was an area that could be run more efficiently.
I took a lead on this and we managed to reduce the orthotic clinics to two days a week running in health centres rather than in schools. This reduced our contract costs and enabled us to provide a better service to our patients and families.
Any other successes?
I was then asked to go to Sweden to help give a presentation with my manager and head of service on how well our service had done.
I have been involved in the recruitment process for several positions and been a recruitment manager on one occasion for a band 3 assistant. I enjoyed this experience, particularly supporting the successful candidates and being involved in their inductions.
Leeds Community Healthcare has a strong belief in leadership at every level and as such in 2012-2013, I completed an Institute of Leadership and Management level 3 leadership qualification. This has helped me immensely in how best to support my colleagues and our team of assistants. I now have regular one-to-one meetings with all our assistants to ensure they are happy in their work and to encourage them to develop their skills and knowledge.
I also support them in their annual appraisals and will lead on their six-month interim appraisals. We have assistants’ meetings every three months, where I organise in-service training. These meetings also are an opportunity to discuss making sure all our statutory and mandatory, safeguarding supervision, clinical supervision, appraisals and all our competencies are up to date.
I also deliver four to six-week physiotherapy blocks to children in settings such as home, nursery, school, health centre. These blocks are arranged jointly with the child’s physiotherapist. The physiotherapist attends the first session and I will feedback at the end of the block, or contact them earlier if I have any problems.
What age group do you work with?
The children I work with are mainly aged under five. Activities include sitting balance exercises, high kneeling, half kneeling, standing, cruising and walking. The level all depends on the child’s ability. I also assist in delivering aquatic therapy in the hydrotherapy pools across the city. I am involved in several sub groups, such as summer blocks, after school blocks and orthotics.
We are always trying to improve our service. I am given lots of opportunities to gain new knowledge and skills and to be involved in leadership, job matching, health coaching and helping with the documentation audits.
What motivates you?
I love my job and feel privileged to be part of such a fantastic team. Every day is different and I feel we make a real difference to our children and families.
- Margot Streatfield is a physiotherapy assistant with Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust
AuthorMargot Streatfield is a physiotherapy assistant with Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust
Number of subscribers: 2