The next step up

For student physios, it’s worth moving up to full CSP membership in good time. Louise Hunt finds out why

As you come towards the end of your course, it’s time to think about moving up to full membership of the CSP. Money may well be tight, as the society recognises – providing a special £20 joining fee for former student members, instead of £195.

The benefits extend well beyond chartered status and insurance, as former student Angelina Ansah found out when browsing through courses and events advertised in Frontline. One was a lecture on a partnership between a UK neurological centre and a stroke service in Ghana.

‘I was surprised to find something so specific to my long-term objective to establish a neuro-rehab clinic in Ghana,’ says Angelina. ‘It allowed me to network and I am hoping to get on board with what they are doing.’

She has also learnt through CSP resources about several charitable grants that she would like to pursue for a possible scoping exercise to Ghana next year.

CPD resources

After graduating in 2009, Angelina converted from student to full membership while working as a therapy assistant in a neurological unit. She is now in her first band 5 physiotherapy post at the MS Action therapy centre in east London.

She is finding the resources for maintaining CPD particularly useful. These include a dedicated careers section of the CSP website and free access to the ePortfolio tool. The member-only section also gives access to learning resources through CSP publications and information papers, along with the quarterly research journal Physiotherapy.

Angelina also finds the back-up and support afforded by being a member of a combined professional body and trade union reassuring.

‘I’m only a year into being qualified so am still finding my feet. It is good to know I have the CSP as a port of call if I need it,’ she says.

Members get expert representation at work from the CSP’s network of trade union officers, stewards and safety reps, as well as being able to access comprehensive legal services. Informal peer support can be sought through the interactiveCSP members’ forum, with its online clinical, professional and regional networks.

For Mark Quinn, who is soon to graduate, full membership is not just desirable, but essential in his quest to stand out from the competition for a newly qualified post.

‘As soon as I have the option to apply for full membership, I will,’ says the University of Ulster physiotherapy student.

‘Being a CSP member is seen as a desirable quality by the majority of prospective physiotherapy employers,’ he comments.

‘I would see it as essential for applying for a job, as once you are qualified it gives you chartered status, rather than just being a physiotherapist. The way the job situation is now, new graduates have to be able to promote themselves as much as possible.’

Taking the Job escalator

Mark says he will be using all the CSP resources on offer, including the searchable Job escalator, with emailed details of the latest physiotherapy posts, to boost his chances of securing that coveted band 5 post.

‘At this time, my goal is to get as much CPD as possible and develop my portfolio to promote myself to prospective employers,’ he says. ‘Right now I’m doing a course in sports massage.’

He has already gained plenty of extracurricular experience as the 2010-11 chair of the CSP student executive. It gave him a positive insight, he says, into the internal workings of the CSP and the lobbying that takes place to influence decision-makers on the future of the physiotherapy profession.

‘In this role I realised how much work the society does for members and I would encourage my cohort to become full members,’ he says.

Valuable support

Jamie Carson, CSP student officer, agrees. ‘In an uncertain job market for our new graduates, the support of the CSP has never been more valuable, both from a trade union and a professional perspective,’ he says.

‘Graduates will find CSP membership useful when applying for jobs, since many job specs ask for CSP membership as a desirable criterion.

‘And don’t forget, if you join as soon as you graduate in June or July, then membership is free until September, with full fees only becoming payable when you secure a job,’ he adds.

Until then, for a period of time, new graduates get more than a 50 per cent reduction in fees and still enjoy all the benefits, including insurance. fl

Why apply?

Top reasons to apply for full membership:

  • Free membership for three months
  • Chartered status
  • CPD support and resources
  • Peer support on iCSP’s newly qualified network
  • All the latest physiotherapy news
  • Up to £10 million insurance
  • Workplace representation
  • Lobbying on your behalf

Apply at or send for an application form: or phone +44 (0)20 7306 6666.

Louise Hunt

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