Students can make a vital contribution to physio knowledge

Students have a growing role to play in contributing to research, which can help drive our profession forward says Laura Blackburn 

Laura Blackburn
is a Doctor of Physiotherapy student at Glasgow Caledonian University and chair of the CSP’s Student Reference Group

On 24 October, the CSP will hold a hybrid student conference in London. The conference is a first of its kind in the CSP and shines a light on all pillars of practice, advocating for student engagement and responsibility in research, leadership, and education as well as clinical. 

Students themselves are advocating to contribute more to physiotherapy from the very start of their careers, through both research undertaken as part of their studies and also resulting or inspired by increasing participation in non-clinical placements.

Conference sessions have been co-curated with students to include workshops, panel discussions, and keynote speakers presenting on a range of specialties. Students, including myself, will chair the conference and showcase posters and rapid five presentations on student-led research and self-reflective practice. Attendance online or in-person is free, with funding available for expenses. 

This year, I attended multiple conferences, including the World Physiotherapy congress in Dubai, where I presented my poster.

The conference provided an opportunity to travel and meet like-minded others. I developed my critical thinking, analytical skills, knowledge of discipline, connections, community, and confidence through the process of abstract submission, presentation, and attending the conference. 

During the student conference, those articulating their research in a short abstract and creating a three-minute verbal overview can enhance their communication skills, providing inspiration to other students coming along who are thinking about their own potential contributions. 

I remember overwhelming feelings of imposter syndrome when presenting at my first conference. 

If you empathise with that, I want to put your worries to rest. The student conference, in collaboration with the Physiotherapy Research Society, aims to foster a ‘safe’ space for students to engage in whatever capacity they feel comfortable.

Please contact if you have questions or would like to know how you can get involved. 

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