Day in the life of a physio student…

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Student physiotherapist, Paul Barnes

Paul’s story

Paul Barnes has been studying for his Master’s in Physiotherapy at Essex University, and came to work at St Clare on a five week placement.

Paul found his perceptions of hospices changed forever, taking away with him some valuable new wisdom and learning about physiotherapy from a whole new perspective. Find out from Paul what physio is really like in a hospice, and see for yourself the difference it can make to people.

“I have learned so much whilst I’ve been here, working as part of the Day Therapy team and on the Inpatient Unit.”

“I first made the decision to follow a career in physiotherapy because I wanted to help people. A desire to help people is really important in the clinical field, and you also have to be patient and empathetic with the people who you work with.”

“Experiencing working life at St Clare has also prepared me for my later work life, because it’s been so diverse! It’s totally different to what I thought it’d be – the Hospice wasn’t what I expected at all.”

“I thought that a lot of people at St Clare would be close to the end of their lives, and I pictured an environment that was sad and dreary. However, it’s been the complete opposite, to say the least.”

“St Clare Hospice has probably been the most positive environment that I’ve had the pleasure of working in, out of all six placements that I’ve completed!”

“As a member of staff at St Clare, you get to have a lot of time with the people you care for. You have time to get to know people, and build a bond with them, which has been fantastic. Being able to build a trusting, positive relationship with my patients is so important, and means I can learn what sort of care they want to receive. This means that I’ve been able to help them achieve their goals as best as I can, which has been so rewarding.”

“Whilst I’ve been giving it my all at St Clare, the Hospice has also given back so much to me. It’s so gratifying to know that you are making a difference.”

“I know what it’s like to be unsure of what a hospice is really like, but I would wholeheartedly encourage anyone who is worried about visiting St Clare to not let their apprehension hold them back. Come in, meet the team, and see for yourself what St Clare can do for you. Nothing that you ask for is ever too much – the staff here will always do their best to help you.

“Don’t let your preconceptions of what a hospice is like stop you from coming in, because I promise that those perceptions will be changed!”

“For me, the positivity of the patients at St Clare is the one thing that has been so enlightening. I expected people to feel sad, but when I first joined the Day Therapy group on a Friday, I realised I couldn’t have been more wrong. They all get along so well, constantly having banter with each other and laughing! They describe Day Therapy as a really good place to meet like-minded people on similar journeys, and a great way break up the week.”

“Physiotherapy in palliative care is different from other care settings, because you really are focused on what a person wants to achieve and their own personal goals.”

“It’s holistic, and about the whole picture, and the whole person’s life. For example, a person might want to get up and walk out into the garden to spend some time outside, which is a physical goal, but for them, is also a psychological and spiritual goal. And that is really important.”

“You help people with the emotional aspects of their life, not just the physical. Palliative care physiotherapists help people to achieve huge personal and emotional goals, like allowing people to spend time with their families. By supporting them to be able to do get up and walk outside, might mean that they can go on a special trip with their family. So physiotherapy is about so much more than physical goals and achievements – it can impact on a person’s whole life.”

“Physiotherapy in a hospice helps to give people their independence, empowering them to make their own choices.”

“My favourite moment whilst working at St Clare was when we helped a person who was staying on our Inpatient Unit. The person hadn’t been able to get out of bed because they were feeling fatigued and tired. They said that they wanted to get out of bed, so we helped them to gradually sit on the edge of their bed at their own pace, and then stand up out of bed. They were absolutely made up! It was so moving for me because we were able to help a person achieve something so important to them.”

“Understanding where physiotherapy fits in at a hospice has been the biggest challenge for me. I thought it’d be a small, niche role that was well defined, but it’s actually so broad, and you can be involved in so many different ways. You also never know what to expect from day to day, which meant I was thrown in at the deep end! Yet, I’ve had the time to learn about it all, which has been so illuminating.”

“I’ve learnt so much whilst working at St Clare, and my perception of hospices has changed forever.”

“The people who I have cared for at St Clare have let me in to their worlds, giving me real insight into their perspectives and the things that are really important to them. The more that you can understand people’s stories, the more you learn to be on the same level as them. That made it even more important for me to help people achieve the goals they set for themselves – because I knew how much it meant to them.”

“My experience at St Clare has made me want to make sure that every single moment I spend with a patient counts, and benefits them in some way.”

“After working at St Clare, I now truly understand what can really be achieved for people through physiotherapy. I realise how important it is, both physically and emotionally, to help a person achieve their goals. I will definitely be taking that with me as I go forward with my career as a qualified physiotherapist – along with the great memories I’ve made at St Clare.”

We’re very proud of you, Paul. We hope that you, too, learned something new about physiotherapy in a hospice from reading Paul’s story! 

To find out more about St Clare Hospice’s Day Therapy services, click here.

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