For the past 6 weeks I have been on my Neurophysiotherapy placement in Tameside General Hospital. Neuro is not a discipline that I found particularly easy or natural to learn, and the placement held a few fears for me.
To be honest, before I did it, I had visions of not learning all that much and finding myself out of my depth in terms of communication and background knowledge. However, my preconceptions were completely changed by my Clinical Educator and the general team over in Tameside General.
I know that Tameside hasn’t really got the greatest of reputations, and also, when you mention Neurophysiotherapy and Tameside in the same sentence you get a lot of funny looks – Salford is the place you go for that, surely?
Tameside have an Acute Stroke unit and a very busy neuro outpatient workload as well. They take in pretty much anyone needing neurophysio in the area – quite uniquely – with no qualifying criteria. So anyone above 18 with a neurological issue – they see. Which makes for a varied and complex caseload.
From the moment that I entered the building on my first day, to the minute I left on my last, it was a veritable whirlwind of learning and giving treatments. Tea breaks? Don’t be ridiculous, no time for that. The attitude of my Clinical Educator was that if we are at work, there are people to help. If you are at a loose end, there is probably something you’re missing, so find out what it is and get on with it. Patients don’t get seen when we’re at home, so make the most of the contact time while we have it.
While there I worked with so many different people from different backgrounds, covering all manner of neurological issues, from acute stroke to MS, vestibular problems to Charcot Marie Tooth (an inherited sensorineural peripheral polyneuropathy). My Clinical Educator had an interesting remit that covered inpatients and outpatients, so my time was similarly split, as well as spending a once weekly session in the hydro-pool.
And I learned so much.
Not just about neurophysio as a separate entity, but more as an adjunct to what I do on a day-to-day basis as a soft tissue therapist. I have to say that the team at Tameside are fantastic, and have such a breadth and range of knowledge, coupled with such a great attitude that I couldn’t help but learn.
My time is now being spent sorting out my portfolio with all the evidence from this placement, putting final touches to reflections, ensuring all the paperwork is done, and then… well, research for my final year project…. Placement may have finished, but the work doesn’t.