Beverly Harrison has spoken of her vision for the support worker profession as she takes up a new role on the CSP’s Associate member support worker representation group (SWRG).
A physiotherapy assistant practitioner in Fife, Scotland, Ms Harrison believes there is a ‘lack of structure’ in both career progression and education in Scotland.
England and Wales both offer the foundation degree, but not in Scotland, she says.
‘I’d like to see a properly structured career progression for physio support workers, supported by relevant education and qualifications for each band.’
How Beverly got in to physio and her current role
I was self-employed doing remedial and sports massage and reflexology but wanted to develop my skills. I started work in 2004, as a band 3 physio assistant in the cardiothoracic wards of the New Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh (NRIE) working there for seven years before gaining a band 4 post in MOE (NRIE), where I worked for a further four years. Within this time, I completed the Otago instructor's qualification, which was instrumental in helping me into my current post, where I have worked for the last seven years.
I work full-time, with 7.5 hours in palliative care and the main part of my job is working with older, community dwelling adults at Whitefield Assessment and Rehabilitation Centre (WARC). At WARC, patients attend for an MDT assessment and then attend for between 4-12 weeks for weekly rehab for deconditioning, poor balance, reduced strength and decreased exercise tolerance.
‘We see a variety of patients, with varying issues, including frailty, sarcopenia, Parkinson’s, stroke and falls. I will assess patients who have been re-referred within a year of attendance and also take patients through a rehab plan, to discharge. I also attend board’s rounds and allocations meetings, where we decide the best place for treatment for patients referred into WARC.’
The opportunity to have an influence on the development of this along with creating an associates network to support CSP members in Scotland and highlighting the benefits of unregistered band 5 roles, were key reasons for putting herself forward for the Associate member SWRG.
Beverly said her team leads were ‘very supportive and encourage me to push myself out of my comfort zone.’
She completed a poster on her audit findings on the effectiveness of her Otago class and their follow-up programme on maintaining adherence.
'The results were almost the same as the original Otago research,' Beverly proudly reports.
And the poster won first prize at a conference of AGILE, the CSP's professional network for therapists working with older people.
At a NHS Scotland conference she did an 'elevator' pitch with the poster 'which was daunting but did make me feel a bit more confident to talk in public.’
Beverly is currently completing a higher national certificate in health and social care.
‘I’m passionate about education and this is the main reason for putting myself forward for the SWRG.’
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