Future physios need you

Karen Middleton calls on members to use imagination and creativity in providing experience for future physiotherapists

Future Physios need you CSP CEO Karen Middleton

As I write this we are easing out of lockdown at different rates across the UK and with the prospect of localised lockdowns. Most of you will know and appreciate – far more than me – that the effects of this virus are still very much with us. 

Everyone has been affected by Covid-19 – disproportionally so in the case of the BAME community – and the future impact is yet to be fully understood, but my thoughts have been turning towards our physiotherapy students. So many of them had their studies curtailed and registered early in order to support the NHS during its hours of need, and found all sorts of ways to help as volunteers or support workers. 

Our students are the future of this profession and it is imperative that we all play our part in supporting them to gain the experience they need to develop as rounded professionals. 

Whatever sector we work in we know there is a shortage of physiotherapists to do the work now, never mind deliver all the new developments that are opening up for our profession to transform lives in different ways. So it is incumbent on us all to support the students coming through to get the clinical placements they so badly need – and we have to be creative! 

During lockdown we have witnessed so many members deliver services creatively. That same imagination needs to be put towards ensuring students get the experience they need now and in the future. 

Whenever I hear members say ‘the students aren’t like they used to be’, I come back with ‘thank goodness for that!’ because these students are training for a new world and it is no good developing them for the past. We have seen glimpses of that new world during lockdown and in dealing with the pandemic so let’s be imaginative in how we provide that placement experience. 

This is about thinking differently and not being bound by what we have always done or by what our experience of student life was. 

CSP staff are working hard to support universities and placement educators to share good practice and innovations, but do think beyond one-to-one supervision, hands-on clinical treatment and placements in the NHS. 

If this pandemic has shown us anything, it is that the workforce needs to be adaptable, agile and resilient and these skills can be developed in myriad ways. 

This is a moment when your profession really needs you. We have been successful in making the case for additional student places – and we’ll continue to do so – but now we need to provide experiences that will develop a well-rounded, confident and competent clinician. 

There isn’t someone else in a different room who will do this. It’s down to all of us.  

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