Stuart Wildman manages to hold down a day job while running a website for patients and professionals on topics relating to MSK ultrasound.
Where did your idea come from?
The idea to develop the website came to me while attending a postgraduate course in musculoskeletal (MSK) ultrasound course and through networking with other health professionals. I became aware that we all use MSK ultrasound in different ways, and as a result could learn from each other. There was no single online resource providing information on how to train, where to train and what the clinical governance issues were with the use of ultrasound in physiotherapy. So, with some help, I set about developing the site.
What does it mean to you personally?
I never anticipated that the website would attract so much interest, and it really motivates me to carry on when I see so many others sharing my interest in the topic. For me, one of the key aspects now is showcasing what physiotherapists can do – really selling our profession! By presenting clinical case studies, I hope to show how we are using diagnostic ultrasound in clinic settings, and using the findings appropriately. It has become a fantastic platform to be able to achieve this.
What do you do in your ‘day job’?
I work as an extended scope physiotherapist at the Homerton hospital in east London. This involves assessing and treating patients referred by their GP or from other physiotherapists with complex MSK conditions. I work in a community MSK outpatient setting with access to diagnostic ultrasound in my clinic each day to facilitate my management of patients and perform guided injections. I really enjoy the role, as we have excellent autonomy to make decisions on patient management.
How many hours a week do you spend on the website?
Initially ... too many. But it does not take up a lot of my time now, as I am much more familiar with how to do things. It is more a case of monitoring the website in the evenings and at weekends to make sure that all the software is working correctly and obviously posting the occasional case study. Many functions happen automatically, which makes things easier.
How have others benefited?
The clinicians who have contributed case studies have gained a number of opportunities. This ranges from being involved on the website, including lecturing posts at universities, to gaining enhanced professional profiles.
I also hope the website has encouraged more clinicians to get involved in ultrasound use, and understand how they go about it. Free access to a hub of MSK ultrasound users via the online forum provides an informal way to access mentorship, and has created an online interprofessional learning community.
I hope it will continue to grow.
And how about patients?
I hope the website will be interactive and grow into a strong online community. This ensures that clinicians can post queries and images on the forum and contribute case studies. This exchange of ideas, experiences and working practices ultimately enhances patient care by creating a central resource which encourages best practice. It also develops clinicians’ knowledge and encourages learning – not just in the UK, but globally.
Would you advise others to follow your lead in other fields of practice?
This is a tricky question but the easy answer is yes. However, the learning curve to develop and run a website is not easy, and can be tiring, time consuming and stressful. Ultimately, I would encourage other physiotherapists to start projects like this, as through social media and a targeted and positive online presence we can really demonstrate what we offer and can achieve as a profession.
Does it keep you awake at night?
I get numerous emails from the website for course enquiries, questions around ultrasound training and also spam emails trying to sell me Louis Vuitton shoes. Thankfully it has never kept me up at night – my young son tends to be in pole position on that front. fl
Stuart Wildman, editor at: www.theultrasoundsite.co.uk is based at the Homerton hospital, London
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