Shadowing a DoctorJune 27, 2016
Elliott Reid is a 25-year-old, fully qualified Osteopath who since graduating has set up his own physical therapy, sports massage and personal training business in his home town in Kent: Revitalize Clinic. To celebrate the launch of our new placements in physiotherapy, Elliott took the time to talk to us about his educational journey.
What is the main thing that appealed to you about forging a career in physical therapy?
I was pretty good at biology at school, readily applying knowledge to function. For example, I could learn anatomy and physiology and apply that theory to how I would improve my own fitness. During my boxing career, I suffered an injury to my lower back and saw an Osteopath for treatment. I quickly saw that this would be a worthwhile career for me as I could apply my strengths to helping people. So I took my masters in Osteopathy and opened a clinic after I graduated.
Describe your educational and personal journey towards becoming qualified.
My educational journey was strong. I’m very competitive and enjoyed competing with my classmates for the better grades. The greatest journey whilst studying to be an osteopath, for me, was learning how I best learn and learning how to apply complex physiology within multiple systems to common problems. For example, you’re taught to incorporate the involvement of the nervous system, musculoskeletal system and psychology into a single diagnosis of back pain.
I found probably towards the end of the course that I best learn visually, so if anyone can speed up their realisation of their best format of which to learn from, I highly recommend this. You have to go to university to be a physical therapist, and take a masters course which takes 4 years. But if you get your head down, the time flies.
What made you want to establish your own practice rather than work elsewhere or for the NHS?
I started up my own practice because I’m competitive and thought I could do it better than my tutors! When I was 19, I moved back to my home town after living in London and built up clientele as a sports therapist.
Do you think physical therapy is an interesting field to qualify in at the moment?
Osteopathy is constantly finding out more about osteopathy. It was originally a more anecdotal field with a lot of case studies to support some great patient results. We now know what the benefits of manipulation, stretching and massage therapy are, down to a physiological and psychological level. It takes a bit of work to build up your clientele – on average, 5 years. But when you do you’ll have a team of very happy clients who will be loyal to your services. People will always have injuries and that makes it a worthwhile profession.
How much of your work would you say involves personal motivation for a client rather than directly working with their physical health?
I’d say personal motivation is a facilitator of health. Motivating a person to get better, move more for example. Naivety and learned helplessness are rife. For example, if someone is suffering from back or knee pain, they’ll rest it until it gets better and when it doesn’t get better (because they haven’t been moving it), they assume they’re injured for life. We, as therapists, have to subtly educate these patients. Too much motivation will result in rebuttal.
Would you place emphasis on the importance of work experience for aspiring health professionals?
Yes, absolutely. Whether you are a personal trainer, osteopath or physiotherapist, you can’t treat patients using textbook information. You need as much experience as possible. This means going outside of your university setting, approaching other businesses who provide training and work experience. It takes more than being a bookworm to be even an average practitioner.
Are there any other ways you would recommend to enhance your career path, or your application to a physical therapy course?
Yes, shadow other therapists before you apply, learn basic anatomy and how this applies to the injuries you see and then blog the entire thing. I think times are changing. No longer can you go to a university/ job interview hoping to get by, by looking good on paper. Blog the entire learning experience with evidence in pictures, patient progression and then it just takes inputting the blog link in your application. You’ve just given a wealth of evidence as to how dedicated and enthusiastic you are which will put you miles ahead of your competition.
What’s the difference between a physiotherapist and an osteopath? Read our blog here
Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives, and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.