Fellowships help physios gain advanced practitioner skills

Band 6 physios in east Staffordshire are gaining valuable experience of band 7 roles, thanks to an innovative fellowship scheme.


Left to right: Physio fellows Fred Mainwaring, Leena Lad and Agostino Faletra

Three musculoskeletal physios have completed a year of their 18-month fellowship posts at Queen’s Hospital in Burton upon Trent, part of Burton Hospitals NHS Trust.

Leena Lad, Fred Mainwaring and Agostino Faletra took up their posts in March 2015 and are due to complete their training in June.

The scheme was the brainchild of consultant physiotherapist Emma Salt.

She told Frontline: ‘We were having difficulty filling our band 6 posts, and, at the same time, we were advertising for a band 7 advanced practitioner post and finding that a lot of the applicants didn’t have the right experience and would need a lot of training up.

‘So we created fellowship roles that would allow people to work as rotational band 6 physios – and meet our recruitment needs – while also developing skills that put them in a better position to get advanced practitioner roles in the future.’

Specialised rotations

During the fellowships the physios underwent six-month rotations allowing them to specialise in three areas: upper limb and neck, lower limb and lumbar spine, and A&E and acute trauma.

‘It puts them in a great position, because they have been trained across these different specialities at an advanced practitioner level,’ said Ms Salt.

A fantastic opportunity

Mr Mainwaring said: ‘The chance to work closely with orthopaedic and A&E consultants in their areas of expertise has been invaluable.’

Ms Lad said: ‘It has given me the chance to take theoretical learning around advanced assessment, medical methods of inquiry, diagnostic procedures and advanced treatment options and apply it in a supportive clinical environment.’

And Mr Faletra added that the training had provided a ‘fantastic opportunity for personal and clinical development’.

The trust plans to continue the scheme and Ms Salt said new candidates are likely to be recruited in April.

‘We want to take it forward and continue, as it seems to have worked really successfully,’ she said.

‘Based on feedback from the physios, we may modify it and make it slightly longer, with nine-month rotations instead of six.’

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