Kieron Parkinson is feeling inspired by fellow physiotherapists from BAME communities
For me, as a black physiotherapy student, the last five months have been truly eye opening in both positive and negative ways.
As a naive student coming to the end of my first year, I was unaware of the disparities in the ethnic make-up of physiotherapy in the UK. Having not yet been on placement, I was also oblivious to the negative experiences that some black/BAME physiotherapists and students have had in clinical settings.
In the wake of the Black Lives Matter resurgence and with my personal levels of black consciousness being the highest they have ever been, I was looking for reassurance that physiotherapy as a profession is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion, and is actively taking steps to address racial inequality. In due course, I received this and will now wait attentively to see if these statements of solidarity and commitment are backed up by tangible action. My new role as equality and diversity officer in the CSP’s 2020/21 student reference group will hopefully allow me to work on some of these initiatives.
In times like these, togetherness and familiarity are indispensable, and I have found both in three distinct groups: the CSP BAME network, the Cultural Health Club and the African and Caribbean Physiotherapy Network.
Through these groups, I have met inspiring individuals at different stages of their careers, showing me that it is very possible to be from an ethnic minority and be successful as a physiotherapist.
Through the Cultural Health Club I have also rediscovered the importance of mentorship, particularly from a mentor that looks like you, sounds like you and can relate to you both inside and outside of physiotherapy.
To any new or current students who may feel few and far between, I highly encourage you to join your respective societies and representational networks where possible.
- Kieron Parkinson is a second year physiotherapy student at the University of Winchester
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