Over the past year, the physiotherapy community has seen an emergence of student-led podcasts and video channels aimed specifically at sharing experiences and knowledge with their peers.
A number of innovative students are using their creative, IT and interpersonal skills to produce engaging audio and visual content that is drawing in an increasing number of listeners. As students or recent graduates, they have a clear understanding and knowledge of what their audience want to hear and how to engage them.
Motivated by a desire to provide their peers with an insight into shared learning opportunities and different areas of physiotherapy, the presenters are also keen for fellow students to feel part of a supportive and welcoming network.
For Isabella Ker, a final year student at St George’s, University of London, creating The Student PhysioCast began with the desire to help the next generation of physio students. 'When my younger brother started his physiotherapy degree this year he had many questions for me regarding what to expect. This made me think that there was an opportunity to implement something to ensure students can access saved content to hear and learn from other students' experiences. I had an overwhelming response and have recruited a growing total of 28 guest speakers (including students and physiotherapists) from around the UK and elsewhere in the world.'
Another motivating factor for presenters is the potential to inspire others, be they a current or potential physio student. James Kwok, a recent graduate of Brunel University who is currently working as a private MSK physiotherapist, is keen to educate the public about physiotherapy, as well as students, through his Kwokie YouTube channel.
'A lot of prospective students believe that physiotherapy is solely about treating sports injuries and working in elite sports. And, oh boy, are they mistaken! As I have always been passionate about cinematography, I wanted to create a platform for younger generations to learn more about different fields of the profession.'
Content designed specifically for students
Content ranges from study tips, placement advice, advice on transitioning into the workplace, day-in-the-life style vlogs and insights into different specialist areas of physiotherapy through interviews with guest speakers. The presenters are always keen to respond to requests for content to ensure they are providing useful and relevant advice. Video is engaging way to share this content and allows for a more personalised approach. As Andie Cann, a final year student at Manchester Metropolitan University recalled:
"I chose YouTube because it was a way for me to be creative in the way I created my videos. I also found that through video I could put my most authentic version out there.”
For the three student creators of The Student Physio Podcast, from the University of Bradford’s Physiotherapy Society, the motivation was 'to create a platform that will bridge the gap between students and qualified physiotherapists. At the time, there were no student specific podcasts and we felt as though it would be a good opportunity to create content for students as students.'
Building a thriving, engaged network
Despite the challenges of recording their content during lockdown, on top of their own workload, these students are enjoying building their networks and are very appreciative of the positive feedback they’ve received from listeners. 'I feel proud,' said Andie, 'when I receive messages or comments from viewers who thank me for motivating and inspiring them to continue or apply to start a physiotherapy degree (and getting in!).' Isabella adds that 'giving an insight and reassurance to students by sharing my experiences with others is what I am most proud of so far.'
The creators of The Student Physio Podcast (Lewis Cowan, Connor Wright and Bradley Carrigan) have been blown away by the feedback: 'The support we have received from the university, lecturers, the union, fellow students and physios has been overwhelming. We are proud to hear that what we are doing is helping other people and of course it is great to see that our hard work is paying off.'
Their plans for the future see them continuing to engage and inspire their listeners:
We are hoping that we will be able to take the podcast with us as we progress from students into professionals and hope that this will provide upcoming students with an insight into the journey from a student to professional.
So, why not listen to one of these podcasts or watch a student YouTuber, or you could even start one yourself!
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