Reach for the heights

Karen Middleton encourages physiotherapy workers to think about how their skills could be perfect for a role on CSP Council

Reach for the heights
Reach for the heights CSP CEO Karen Middleton

While I am sure we are all glad to see the back of 2020, I suspect this new year has proved difficult because we are certainly not out of the woods yet regarding Covid. That said, as I pointed out in my December column, being hopeful and optimistic is important.

January will see many students starting their training and, often, new jobs are a feature of January too – or at least thinking about a change or a move.

We heard so many times at Physiotherapy UK about careers that had started with physiotherapy training and yet had gone in so many diverse directions. This is an important message for students to hear because the skills you learn as a physio student are so transferable. The ability to assess a situation, analyse data, communicate, observe, problem solve and motivate are critical to so many roles and yet they are all packaged up so well in our training, alongside the clinical knowledge and expertise you develop, of course.

Yet I am always fascinated how many CSP members I coach or mentor who come to me about their next career move and really do not see all they have to offer in themselves – there is a strong tendency to remark on what they don’t have, rather than what they do have.

And the same goes when I have conversations with members about standing for council or one of three CSP committees. Usually there is complete disbelief that they should consider such a role at all.

Taking up one of these roles in the governance of the CSP is a two-way street: the organisation (and profession) has much to gain from all the skills I’ve described, equally, you develop yet more skills to help you progress in your career. Exactly how are you meant to gain board experience if you never get to sit on a board? Well, you could get that experience by being a school governor, a trustee for a charity, or being elected to council or a CSP committee.

Even the process of being elected to council teaches you a great deal: how to promote yourself, how to influence, how to galvanise others to vote for you. And there is more training and development if you are successfully elected. Also bear in mind that we do not want 12 people who look and sound the same and come with the same experience. A successful board will be a diverse one – you will be a role model for those who come after you and it is important that all our members see the potential in themselves.

So as we start 2021, think about where your student training will lead you – there are endless possibilities – and think about standing for council and what you might bring to the role and what you might take from it. The experience will be so positive for your next career move if you’re thinking about a change.

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