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Day in the life of a physiotherapy manager

My name is Paul Soley and I am the lead physiotherapist in the Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre in Plymouth. A usual working day for me looks something like this.

My alarm goes off every morning at 5am to the sounds of BBC 6 music. I then grab a banana and I go for either a run, cycle or swim (indoors or outdoors dependent on the British weather and how brave I am feeling).

I arrive at work, get changed and I am ready for the 8 o’clock ward round with the nurses, resident medical officer, a consultant and other relevant members of the multidisciplinary team (MDT). The ward round can take any length of time from 15 minutes to an hour depending on how many patients we have on the ward. During the ward round the consultant will review the patient based on a physical examination and an update of their progress from other members of the MDT, including the patient. Following the ward round I will head back into the physiotherapy gym, feedback to the physiotherapy team and develop a working plan for the day.

The Peninsula Treatment Centre has two wards, a day surgery unit, two operating theatres and an out-patient clinic, all of which is covered by three physiotherapists, one physiotherapy assistant and we also have three bank physiotherapists. As we work a five day week over seven days there will be occasions when we only have two physiotherapists working in the unit. When we are fully staffed two physiotherapists will look after the patients on the ward, with the other one carrying the pager and responding to all calls from other areas of the unit. I usually carry the pager as this allows me to know what is happening within the unit and enables anyone to contact me at any time.

During the ward round feedback session I will recognise any patients coming in for an out-patient appointment, delegate the workload to staff and ask them for any concerns. Once we are all sure of what we are doing and everyone is happy we will begin seeing patients. This should all be done by 9am. I will then check my emails and diary to see if there is anything that needs my immediate attention and where I need to be at a specific time. As we generally treat an ageing patient population I have to recognise if a patient will have any issues that may put them at risk of injury when they go home following their surgery. When this happens I begin arranging a suitable package of care and contacting the relevant social services. Out-patient appointments, arranging packages of care, assisting with discharges, answering emails and calls will take me up to my lunchtime which I take approximately at 12:30.

After our thirty minute lunch break all the team comes together in the physiotherapy gym and we discuss any issues. The list from the morning will also have been completed. I then see or delegate any day case surgeries such as shoulder or complex feet that require further physiotherapy input. I will also look at the rota which I aim to keep three months in advance to recognise any staffing issues that may arise.  Depending on the day of the week, the number of out patients I will see in the afternoon will vary. On a Wednesday at 2pm we hold a total knee replacement rehabilitation group where we can progress a patient or recognise any issues they may have since being discharged. The amount of patients can vary from seven to seventeen and the patients really enjoy themselves.

I will then check to see which major operations are suitable for day zero mobilisation to assist with enhanced recovery. If a patient has met certain criteria we will treat them at their bedside. During this time I will assess if they might need a package of care or recognise any other issues that have not been highlighted during the initial assessment. This will be from 3pm to 5pm.

At approximately 4pm all the physiotherapy team will meet in the gym to discuss the whole day, recognise any issues and plan for the next day. Depending on the outcome of this meeting I will finish between 4.30pm to 6pm and sometimes later as we will stay on to ensure that a patient is discharged home safely. Although I have generally mentioned what happens in my usual day in the first person, I have a great, reliable and enthusiastic team with me. Without their support it would not happen. We all recognise and know that healthcare is not your regular 9 to 5 job but it is one that we all thoroughly enjoy doing at The Peninsula Treatment Centre.

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