Pushing boundaries as a military physio

Captain Preet Chandi charts her career pathway in the British Army

Preet Chandi
Captain Preet Chandi physiotherapist based at 3 Medical Regiment, Preston

Coming from an Asian background, joining the army wasn’t the conventional career choice for me; I didn’t tell my family when I decided to join. Often, when something is out of the norm, it can be those closest to us that can hold us back.

But I haven’t looked back on this decision and since then my family have seen the breadth of opportunities I have had, my personal growth, and how much I have accomplished so far.  

Physiotherapists from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds only account for approximately seven per cent of the CSP’s membership.

Physiotherapy is often not the accepted career choice for Asian families, as expectations are that you become a doctor or dentist. Having seen physiotherapists in my early sporting career, I was always intrigued by the profession and wanted to learn more. 

I joined the army reserves as a combat medical technician before university and I decided to join the regular army as I wanted to fully immerse myself as a regular officer. Becoming an army physiotherapist seemed like something that was impossible to me; I was the first person to gain a degree in my family and I had now joined the army. This is still one of my greatest achievements. I have done army exercises and deployments all over the world, including Nepal, Kenya, South Sudan and Norway. 

My wide skillset has enabled me to work with other UN countries and support the Covid-19 vaccination roll out; advising populations that were reluctant to get their vaccine. I have also been involved with army engagement events where I share my experience with persons from different backgrounds, showcasing both the opportunities and career paths that the army offers. 

The army helped me realise how much I am capable of. It’s regularly taken me out of my comfort zone and pushed my boundaries; I have used this mental and physical resilience to pursue additional activities. 

Later this year, I aim to be the first Asian female to complete a 45-day solo expedition in Antarctica. 

I want to inspire and encourage others to push their boundaries too, because we are more capable than we can imagine. 

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