My name is Michael Francis, I am a 2nd-year physiotherapy student studying at Salford University and I am currently completing a joint Leadership & Management Placement with at Northern Care Alliance and Health Education England.
The main project I am working on is a piece of work commissioned by Health Education England called the AHP Support Workforce Planning Toolkit. The toolkit is designed to help regions, integrated care systems and employers to develop high quality, innovative training and education for the allied health professions (AHP) support workforce across professions.
During this experience I have gained communication skills through being involved in discussions regarding the project, opportunities to meet and observe different leadership styles, an insight into the bigger picture of healthcare and where I (as an aspiring physiotherapist) could fit into this and project skills with great mentoring and precedents to inspire/learn from.
This experience has made me appreciate the wider implications of my role as a physio. Beforehand, I had physio blinkers on and was so fixed on just becoming a good clinician. My goal to become a good clinician is still present and reinforced if anything, but this experience has redefined what being a “good clinician” means to me. I have a better understanding of wider issues in the NHS and healthcare in the UK, how there is a need for culture change and striving for better and more efficient scopes of practice. I think this understanding will make me a better clinician.
If students are taking on a similar placement, I would advise they, come open minded. Whilst you will not be gaining “clinical” skills, the skills and knowledge that you obtain are still relevant and will benefit you in the future. Ask lots of questions! There may be lots of terms/acronyms that are unfamiliar so do not be afraid to ask what something means. Think about what you want to gain from the placement. Do you want to work on your communication skills, leadership style, formal writing? Your educator can shape the placement around what you want.