A life-threatening childhood illness led Patrick Shaughnessy to embark on a career in physiotherapy, as he explains below.
What motivated you to become a physio?
I entered physiotherapy because I saw how it helps people from a young age. I was born with a rare blood disorder, which claimed the lives of my two brothers and two male cousins. Of the five of us, I am the lone survivor. This is due to me having two bone marrow transplants in Newcastle upon Tyne, after being flown over from Ireland in 1999 and 2002. Due to my experiences and the help received I chose a career that would allow give to give something back on a daily basis.
Has it met your expectations, so far, as a career?
Yes it has surpassed all expectations. I loved every moment of my degree at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in Preston and made friends for life from my time there. The university and the physiotherapy lecturers were so inspiring and motivating throughout the three years. My placements were my most enjoyable experiences as you meet people from all backgrounds who share their stories and leave you with memories you won’t forget.
Although I have loved all my placements my highlight had to be returning to Newcastle to the Great North Children’s Hospital for my elective placement. I found a love for paediatric physiotherapy while on placement and hope to work in this area in the future. I enjoyed helping children and telling them that I was once in their position and look where I ended up. While on this placement my family and I met my donor after waiting 17 years. A lady I owe my life to not once, but twice! Experiences such as this make me realise I have chosen the right career as I can continue to help people and improve their quality of life.
You find time to volunteer. Tell us more
In April I launched a mobile phone app I had worked for a year back in Ireland. I came up with the idea, got the assistance of charities and then fundraised €16,500 with family and friends to build a mobile phone app to help people in suicide crisis or for people noticing deteriorations in their own mental health or that of a loved one.
In June, just before graduating, I worked in Zambia on a project run by UCLan and Sport in Action, a charity that works in primary schools teaching children life lessons through sports.
Have you found a job yet?
Yes I was fortunate enough to secure a job at the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital. I felt this was an opportunity I could not turn down as it is rated so highly in annual patient satisfaction surveys and is a very successful hospital.
What are your career goals?
For now I want to gain as much experience as I can. I felt choosing Liverpool was a good decision for my career pathway as I will receive top quality respiratory and on-call training that I can use wherever my career takes me.
I am a keen football player so, of course, if the opportunity ever arose to work in sports I would give it serious thought, but for now I just want to make my CV as strong, competitive and interesting as I can.
Tell us more about your app
My mobile phone app, TrustTalk24/7, is aimed primarily at teenagers and young adults but can be used by anybody. It is free to download from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store and is split into three sections. It enables users to exchange messages with accredited counsellors and to phone or request a call from these counsellors 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.
The app also offers individuals interactive questionnaires on mental health issues. People can also use it if they are worried about a loved one and you receive information or help depending on your answers.
The final section is a tool that can be used by everyone. It offers daily inspirational messages to motivate people when they wake up each day. The app has already saved lives and I have received messages of thanks. I felt if I saved one life I had helped and I have already done this. The app is currently active in Ireland with one part of the app active in the UK. I am working on making this app active to the UK by the end of the year. Visit http://trusttalk247.com to find out more. fl
- Patrick Shaughnessy is a physiotherapist at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital
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