In person: let’s get fresher!

Chief executive Karen Middleton welcomes those physios starting degrees or launching their careers.

I had the privilege of being awarded an honorary doctorate from Brunel University in July (thank you again!) at a ceremony for new physiotherapy graduates. Many of you will know that I have a passion for spending time with physiotherapy students.
But only rarely do I get the chance to speak with those who have just graduated. How wonderful to listen to their enthusiasm about the profession; to hear how they couldn’t wait to start work and, of course, how relieved they were to have completed their degree. I hope, whatever working environment the physios walk into, their spirit and passion is nurtured, rather than being knocked out of them. We all need an injection of positivity from time to time and the new graduates can provide it.
I hope, as they become full members of the CSP, the new physiotherapists will start, or continue, to engage in the work of their professional body and trade union. That could be through the country boards, the regional networks, as a local steward, health and safety rep, or through one of the many professional networks. In the future, there will also be opportunities to engage in different, ad hoc ways that might be easier to accommodate within busy lives. It is critical for the organisation and the profession, not just for your services and teams, that we engage this ‘new blood’. In order to thrive as an organisation and a profession, we have to keep evolving and adapting. 
It’s quite hard at the start of your career to know what to get involved in – or not – because you’re just coming to terms with your new job and possibly a new location. Yet students at freshers’ week get involved in everything and welcome the opportunities that come their way, until they find their niche. That’s certainly Luke Tobin’s recommendation to new students.
If you have newly-qualified physiotherapists in your team or service, how about agreeing to go to an event or get involved in something together? 
Perhaps you haven’t been so involved in the profession or the CSP for a while? What about doing something local around the time of Older People’s Day? 
This year it falls on a Sunday, but we’re encouraging members to arrange an event near that day. Or what about attending Physiotherapy UK this November?  
Whether you’re newly qualified, just starting your first year at university, or are an experienced physio, remember that engaging with the CSP, in all the different ways you can, not only benefits the profession, but also provides you with ample continuing professional development opportunities and evidence for your CV. 
When applying for my current post, I referred to my time as a CSP steward and to my work in the local CSP branch (the precursor to regional networks) – both of which I started during my first year of qualification. In fact, I remember going along to my first evening lecture at the local branch in my uniform because I was unsure what to wear to those sort of things! How nice if someone had shown me the ropes.
I realise we all lead very busy lives, but you know what they say about busy people – give them something more to do and they still manage to do it. Physios are definitely multi-taskers and it would be great to see you shaping the profession too.
The ceremony at Brunel reminded me of my mixture of excitement, anticipation and anxiety as I approached the start of my training. 
If you’re reading this copy of Frontline in your welcome pack as an incoming student, do take the wise step of becoming a CSP student member. And encourage others to do so too. 
Right from the start you can get engaged locally in all the ways I have described above and could become a student representative. This would be another plus to add to your CV and another way of accessing more information about your chosen profession.  I hope to meet as many of you as possible nd look forward to the invitations. As we start the new autumn ‘term’,  let’s all start taking a ‘freshers’ week’ approach to our work and profession. fl

Contact Karen


Karen Middleton Chief Executive Officer CSP

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