Physiotherapy students as change agents

Dr Melrose Stewart on reasons to join the CSP on the March in London on Saturday 12 May.

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Photo by Darren O’Brien/Guzelian

I wonder how many physiotherapy students stop to think about their level of political clout? Stated in another way, how many of you stop to think about your potential to influence societal structures around you, the impact you could have in shaping the current and future working environments, and in making your voices heard?

Being a student often means picking up cues from experienced practitioners, learning and developing skills to achieve the role of a competent practitioner. However, we also know that students have the drive, enthusiasm and tenacity to be effective leaders and they have the power to drive change. You are able to bring fresh thinking to shaping the workplace of tomorrow and in challenging current practices. Your familiarity with social media means you are immensely influential in garnering, mobilising and spreading information quickly and effectively among and beyond your communities.

We need to harness all of these attributes in our student population, encourage you to use them in joining the fight for fair pay and working conditions for physiotherapy. Unless we want to see workplace opportunities for learning diminished and physiotherapy undermined, eroded, and diluted, we all need to be in this fight together. The CSP is the professional body and trade union supporting its 57,000 physiotherapists, students and associates in the UK. It is going to require all of its members to stand together for the development and sustainability of the workforce in all parts of the NHS, private and social care sectors.

On Saturday 12 May 2018, the CSP will be marching in London with other unions to call for more and better jobs, fair pay for physiotherapy and fair working conditions. Students marching in solidarity with their working colleagues have the opportunity to significantly amplify the action and to bring collective strength. You have the opportunity to show that you are of like minds with your more experienced practitioners and that you are not willing to see the profession you have worked so hard to join, slowly crumble because you have not used your political clout. In marching together, all CSP members can show how much they care about creating a workforce from which everyone benefits.

Students can be and have been agents of positive social change. You are critical thinkers and problem solvers capable of deciding what is worth fighting for. On 12 May you can use your freedom of expression as part of that development journey and shine as agents and facilitators to bring about real social change.

The CSP will be marching alongside and other health unions in the TUC-led national march and rally Saturday 12 May. Assembly: 11am, Embankment. Bring your work colleagues, friends and family.

Find out more and make your pledge to attend

Melrose Stewart is a CSP member and lecturer in the School of Sports, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Birmingham. 

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