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Why I chose the Return to Practice programme as a Physiotherapist

''I trained as a Physiotherapist at Salford University and qualified in July 2000.  I started my first job as a Rotational Physiotherapist at Sandwell Hospital and completed a variety of rotations as a ‘junior’ Physiotherapist.  I then got a job as a Paediatric Physiotherapist and worked on the Paediatric wards and in outpatients for a year or so.  After having my son, I did come back, on a part-time basis to provide training to newly qualified staff in Paediatrics.

At the time, a move to Scotland coincided with an NHS job freeze which meant I did not immediately seek a job in Scotland.  I then had my second child and so did not work for a while. During this time my registration lapsed and I was not sure whether I wanted to continue in Physiotherapy or look at other employment.  After some time, I decided to work part-time and started working as a Breastfeeding Support Worker.  I enjoyed this work although it made me want to work again as a Clinician with more responsibility and autonomy.

After moving back to England and the Midlands as a family and I was considering going back into practice.  I found out what would be required for me to do in order to return to practice through the HCPC website.  I enquired about an advertised job for a Band 6 Paediatric Community Physiotherapist at Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust.  I explained I was experienced although not currently registered and looking to return to practice.  The manager of the team at the time was clear that I could apply for the role and if successful would be supported to complete my return to practice.  They also encouraged me that if not recruited they would still be prepared to support me in returning to practice within the team, the hiring manager was really encouraging and enthusiastic about someone returning to the profession after a break.  I was offered the position after interview and went on to complete my return to practice hours and training with the team prior to starting in the Band 6 role.

Throughout the process, I was really encouraged by management and the team, who were positive about it and very supportive. I completed supervised hours of practice slowly building back my confidence and remembering my skills, which I thought I had forgotten. I also completed some formal and informal learning in my own time to enable me to complete the re-registration process.

I am now part way through my next challenge!... I am a Trainee Advanced Clinical Practitioner within Paediatric Physiotherapy and part way through my Masters for this.  Since coming back to Paediatric Physiotherapy I have realised that my life experiences and other jobs I had when out of Physiotherapy, along with my Physiotherapy experience, make me the clinician I am today.

To anyone thinking of returning to practice, I would give this advice:

  • The things you think you have forgotten will come easier than you think with practice
  • It is not as hard to go through returning to practice and reregistration with HCPC as you think it might be
  • A supportive team and manager make all the difference when completing your RtP
  • …. Go for it!