You can do it

Recently qualified, Hayley Clarke urges physio students to seize every learning opportunity

Almost a year and a half after graduation, I could not be more pleased that I made it through all the hard work and the endless reading and revision. 

The course was tough. There’s so much to learn in a short time, although it might not feel so short when you’re swimming in essays. 

One thing I have learned since I qualified is that university cannot teach you everything. It does, however, give you the key skills and knowledge that form the basis from which you continue to learn and develop. 

We all find our own ways of learning. For me, it was mind-maps and working with friends. We would work through case studies and practice questions, each taking a case and focusing on it before presenting it back. This made us comfortable with answering questions and discussing topics. 

I found placements the most enjoyable part of the course. Things you have learned in a classroom start to make sense and you can see theory turn into practice. Make the most of those opportunities. And remember that one day you might be heading back to that placement site for a job interview, so make a good impression. 

Another thing I’ve learned since qualifying is not to break everything down into ‘core areas’. At university we were so concerned about splitting 
the areas into distinct placements, exams and learning. In reality, you can be on a ward and have to deal with respiratory, neuro and musculoskeletal all in one day – or one patient. It’s vital to notice when you need to use other skills. 

A big part of my time as a physio student was spent working with the CSP. More opportunities, skills and knowledge came from that experience, and it is still something I enjoy. So don’t be afraid to do something outside your comfort zone. You never know where it might lead you. 

Above all, I want to say to physio students: you can do it. One essay at a time, one placement after another – it will all be worth it. I hope you love it as much as I do. 

  • Hayley Clarke is a band 5 physiotherapist at Portsmouth Hospital Trust and CSP south central regional chair 

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