Jane Dixon’s willingness to embrace new ideas led to her being made a CSP fellow in 2012, as Robert Millett discovers
Jane Dixon is well known for her work in the field of continence and for pioneering the use of real time ultrasound to assess pelvic floor muscles.
After serving on CSP Council from 1993 to 1997, in 2005 she became the first chartered physiotherapist to achieve supplementary prescribing rights in the continence field.
Originally from Cheshire, Mrs Dixon now lives in Fenstanton, Cambridgeshire, and works privately as a clinical specialist physiotherapist for women’s and men’s health at Progress: The Cambridge Centre for Health and Performance.
At a young age she displayed a strong interest in healthcare and recalls avidly watching medical TV shows such as Dr Kildare.
Her growing curiosity about the workings of the body led her to train as a physiotherapist at Manchester Royal Infirmary School of Physiotherapy from 1968 to 1971.
Mrs Dixon then worked in the paediatric field before marrying and deciding to take time out from her career to start a family. When she started working again she decided to set up her own private practice.
At the time her husband worked for a medical company that specialised in products for bladder and bowel management and this inspired her to consider new ways of applying her skills.
‘I began to become aware of how many of my musculoskeletal patients also confided that they had bladder and or bowel problems.
‘So I decided to explore how physiotherapy could help. I knew via my husband’s work that nurses specialised in this field as continence advisers so I felt physiotherapy must have a role to play,’ Mrs Dixon recalls.
Never one to follow the crowd, Mrs Dixon says she wasn’t content to follow treatment regimes simply because they had been set by ‘eminent specialists’. So she approached the treatment of continence with an open, enquiring mind and a willingness to test established views.
‘The more I became involved in the treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction problems the more I began to challenge my own practice,’ she says.
‘I needed to be confident that I was giving my patients the best possible care and I wanted to make sure that others questioned their own practices too.’
As a result Mrs Dixon went on to champion the use of real time ultrasound for continence issues and became a founder member of the Dynamic Ultrasound Group, now a part of the CSP-endorsed Electrophysical Agents and Diagnostic Ultrasound professional network.
Inspired to share her knowledge, Mrs Dixon went on to work as a clinical tutor with the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Women’s Health continence course at East London and Bradford universities.
Mrs Dixon, who has been teaching ultrasound scanning techniques since 2006, has always felt the profession should widen its scope of practice. But she’s encountered many physios who seem unwilling to engage with the subject of continence in a clinical way.
‘I don’t think enough physiotherapists move into this area of healthcare,’ she says.
‘It’s still a huge taboo area, and this has to change. Maybe it’s because it’s not “sexy” or “attractive” to talk about or treat problems of pelvic floor dysfunction. For some physiotherapists it appears to be too invasive.’
In 2004 Mrs Dixon joined the CSP Supplementary Prescribing Committee (now the Medicines Management Advisory Group) and helped to spearhead supplementary prescribing rights for physiotherapists. She also trained as a prescriber herself in the area of continence.
She advises those seeking to make their mark to stay positive and remember that everything can be surmounted if you’re determined.
‘Talk to people – everyone is approachable. The CSP is often a good place to start,’ Mrs Dixon notes. fl
Name: Jane Dixon
- 1998 to 1999 Member of CSP committee looking into continuing professional development
- 2001 to date Director and trustee, Bladder and Bowel Foundation
- 2004 to date Member, Medicines Management Advisory Group
- 2005 Gained supplementary prescribing rights
- 2009 to 2011 Chairman, Eastern Region Network Group, CSP
- 2012 Awarded CSP fellowship
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