Reflecting on rotation

Speaking from her own experience, Laura Whitehead explains how valuable ‘front door’ rotation can be for band 5 physiotherapists

Laura Whitehead
Laura Whitehead is a band 6 physiotherapist (frail and complex), and a CSP steward at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust

There are well-documented clinical risks associated with the hospitalisation of frail patients including hospital-acquired infections, delirium and functional decline. 

Physiotherapists are ideally placed within emergency department settings to prevent unnecessary admission to the acute setting where patients can be managed safely at home or in a community setting. 

One of my first rotations as a band 5 physiotherapist was as part of a frailty rotation providing an admission avoidance service. This was a fast-paced environment involving skills that are not traditionally in the scope of physiotherapy. In this environment, physiotherapists and occupational therapists work closely together to provide a holistic approach, blurring the lines between professions. This can be challenging for a new band 5 as there are new skills which aren’t taught at university as part of the role. 

I initially struggled in this role and, as I was new to the trust, I felt I had a lot to prove but have since learned that it is okay to ask for help.

There were times of extreme system pressure due to the limitations of care and community provisions, but I found that it was important to manage expectations and place the patient at the centre of the decision-making process. 

We worked closely with geriatricians and advanced clinical practitioners (some having a background as a physiotherapist). With this setup, multidisciplinary conversation was key and ever present. One of my most notable experiences was completing a stairs assessment with one of our consultants.

I learned the value of reflection in this rotation, turning an initially negative experience into a positive one. 

I feel that this rotation experience provides a huge benefit to a band 5 physiotherapist, but my recommendation is that it is done as a later rotation when you have a better understanding of the community services that are available in your area. 

This experience led me to strive for service improvement and make recommendations for future band 5s, furthermore, inspiring me to become a CSP steward. To become a steward visit the website here.

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