When you get to nearly 70 and something happens to make you have to look on life differently such as Covid 19 then you are at an age where you reflect on the past and don’t so much think of the future.
I have had such a wonderful career as a Chartered Physiotherapist.
I can still feel the tingles going down my spine when I graduated, but then when in addition I was awarded the ‘Jean Brock Award for best all round student’ I was ecstatic and my parents proud. That made me realise that a girl from a poor background, from back street Liverpool, had something.... so work on it Mary, and ...make something of yourself…
My first job after graduation was a dream, such a boss! she was awesome, but so kind, and she really recognized potential in her staff.
The senior team were like a ‘dream team’ and they were so giving of their talents that they inspired me to teach. They are now all legends in their field in Liverpool
But I moved on because an incredible opportunity presented itself, an educational grant to study in the neurological field, take a prestigious course, ‘all expenses paid’ and really further your career, but bring all you have learnt back to the hospital to set up a stroke unit.
Wow – and you all know from my previous blog how I came to make the decision. A decision I have never regretted!
Working on the stroke unit and leading a very talented team was one of the most exciting times of my life. It was hard work for sure, but I have never minded hard work as long as it is satisfying. I felt that we developed a very open, honest team approach, as well as novel ideas and sharing of skills.
Perhaps two of the most innovative achievements were the ‘flexi-hour’ working time, which initially allowed me to not only do a night-shift to train the night staff, but also to speak to and train the relatives during visiting times for weekend leave and discharge.
These flexi-time night shifts sorted out so many problems related to manual handling and consequently shoulder pain for example.
Sometimes I would do the whole night so that I could work together with the staff from 7am to get the patients up and ready for their day. That was a revealing time and I learned so much about how to apply the Bobath Concept over 24 hours, and how to ease concerns in both staff and patients related to their ability to cope alone.
The second innovation, which was very novel, was to appoint a Community Liaison Nurse who would track our discharged patients for one-month post discharge. She would visit them at home or wherever they were, and because she had met them before discharge on the ward and in the therapy departments she knew their achieved level and so she was brilliant at alerting us if anything was going wrong.
I feel that the development of dedicated units such as stroke units has been very positive in the NHS and I still see that they have to be built on adequate staff and constant training to really work for the patient. The team members must also respect each other’s skills and there has to be a strong leader with a vision.
Then after 2 plus wonderful years, the opportunity arose and I had to take it – a job at the Bobath Centre in London working alongside Dr and Mrs Bobath and the outstanding Jennifer Bryce.
I got an interview thanks to the brilliant and ‘over the top’ reference written by the Senior Medical and Stroke consultant who really impressed Dr Bobath and amazingly I got the job, against quite stiff competition, and moved to London. Very Scary, but the start of another chapter of my life.
If you would like to learn more about the 24hr approach and the Bobath Concept, have a look at our Courses section of the website and book something ready for when the Covid-19 lockdown is lifted.