Róisín Fallen-Bailey describes how university physiotherapy societies can provide CPD opportunities beyond the classroom.
The physiotherapy society at Teesside University was set up in 2016/17 by Paddy Traylor (third year BSc) and I (second year BSc), with support from our tutor, Julie Sparrow. The idea was to invite experienced clinicians to provide a practical session for students to enhance the skills we learned in class and on placement. It won Best New Society of the Year at our university’s students’ union awards.
We achieved this accolade by keeping our objectives small during the first year, aiming for three speakers (one per term) plus a charity event. It was easy to decide on our first invited speaker. University teaching staff are skilled clinicians so we asked a new member of the physio team at Teesside to talk about her background as a physiotherapist in the military. The other two were external speakers and our charity event was a 24-hour Three Peaks Challenge.
The benefit of a physiotherapy society is that you can organise events based on a specific interest, such as a lateral epicondylitis talk or shoulder symptom modification procedure. This enables students to be in charge of the extracurricular content and to fill any perceived gaps in their knowledge.
Engaging with the CSP while running a society provides a chance to connect with talented clinicians all over your region (for us, the North-East) and enables you to tap into the professional networks. The CSP also offers support to all students undertaking events and campaigns, and this has been invaluable.
The society is growing from strength to strength, thanks to help from university staff, the amazing students on the committee, and the CSP’s support systems. In February, Simon Gaffney organised Rugby Football Union first aid training for students. As a result, as well as winning an award, the society was also nominated for Best Society for Enhancing Employability and Achievement of the Year at our university’s student awards. Simon will also take the lead as the new chair of the physiotherapy society next year, and this continuity is key to the society’s sustainability.
We have learned a lot over the last two years. We have doubled membership numbers, organised two talks per term and increased our social media presence. We now have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts where we post information about local events, new research and our own events (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Róisín Fallen-Bailey is CSP student rep of the year
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