Adviceline: physio skills that go beyond clinical practice

Ieuan Ellis muses on his new job and how physio has given him skills that go beyond clinical practice.

As I write this piece over the Christmas break, enjoying some ‘down time’ at home with my family, I am looking forward to starting a new job at Staffordshire University in January 2017 as Pro Vice Chancellor for Partnerships and Region. 
In my role as a member of a new university executive team, I will take on lead responsibility for all University partnerships within the region, the UK and internationally, facilitating partnership connections across diverse subject disciplines including business, leadership and economics, creative arts and engineering as well as closer to my own professional expertise, health and care. 
This is a big job and a fantastic leadership opportunity to work as part of multiple teams to deliver significant social and economic outcomes and impact through applied education and research.
Yet, when I qualified as a physiotherapist in 1981 and moved into my first job as a ‘rotational basic grade physiotherapist’, my sole expectation was to pursue a clinical career path. I had no idea that the values, knowledge and skills initiated through my physiotherapy ‘training’ – in particular the importance of respect, listening skills and professionalism – would provide a platform for a rewarding clinical and academic leadership career. 
I was first drawn to my first academic role as a lecturer in physiotherapy in 1987 by my interest in and enjoyment of teaching students. My academic career has broadened to encompass leadership of curriculum developments, leading innovation in teaching, and leading applied research and consultancy. To date this has included over 16 full-time jobs with five different employers (two ‘NHS’ and three Universities) spanning a period of 35 years. 
My plan for my first 60 days is to spend as much time as possible with staff, students and with partners listening to their views on opportunities and seeking their ideas on how current challenges can be overcome to deliver success.  The success of what I can achieve as a leader will depend on how I go about building professional relationships. 
In the words of Maya Angelou ‘People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel’. 
  • Professor Ieuan Ellis MCSP has just been appointed Pro Vice Chancellor (Partnerships and Region) at Staffordshire University. Read his blog or follow him on Twitter @Prof_IeuanEllis
  • Professor Ieuan Ellis MCSP

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