A physiotherapy professional with more than three decades’ experience is set to deliver a free short course at Wrexham Glyndwr University for people considering a career in the profession.

Julie Wilkins, who is the professional lead for Wrexham Glyndwr University’s physiotherapy programmes, will be heading up the course – and  with the first group of students set to take up their studies in early January, places are already filling fast.

Julie said: “The course is called ‘Physiotherapy – an introduction to the career’ and it does what it says on the tin!

“The reason why we came up with the idea for the course  is that we were, increasingly, meeting people who were aspiring to be physiotherapists – but who perhaps didn’t understand the whole scope of the modern profession.

“We were also meeting others who were desperate to be physiotherapists but who couldn’t, for one reason or another, demonstrate they had secured relevant experience.

“Finally, we were also meeting people who had relevant life experience which they could bring to the course – but who had not had any experience of recent educational study.

“So we designed this course – for people who have one of those gaps in their lives, whether that’s a lack of physiotherapy experience or a lack of educational study in a  setting like Glyndwr over the past five years. It’s a great way for an applicant to show that they have committed to studying at an academic level – and that really helps them with future applications for physiotherapy courses.”

The course has been designed to take applicants through the way physiotherapy is delivered in modern settings, dispel myths about the profession – and to give students an initial grounding in a profession which has an increasing number of applications across a wide variety of areas.

Julie added: “At the end of the course, you can expect to understand various aspects of physiotherapy – everything from private practice all the way to social care. You will get an understanding of contemporary practice – such as what does a physiotherapist do in 2020, how is the profession regulated, and what is the context in which you will work?

“Most importantly, you’ll find out more about reflective practice – a key part of being a healthcare practitioner uses these techniques to  examine what you have done with a patient, why, what went well – and how you can improve.

“The most successful healthcare practitioners develop those and they really help you to contemplate your interactions with both patients and staff.

“As a healthcare professional, you working with a  range of people who will all have different views on a situation. In those cases, there is often more than one ‘correct’ view and developing your reflective practice skills also helps you in situations like those – letting you consider what other professionals are thinking.”

The short course is delivered by lecturers who also deliver Wrexham Glyndwr University’s BSc (Hons) in Physiotherapy – which took its first cohort in September this year.

The physiotherapy course has a number of commissioned places on its programme – meaning students’ tuition fees can be paid and they can be eligible for a one-off annual payment, financial support to cover placement costs and to apply for a means-tested bursary – although conditions apply.

Leading the course has helped Julie realise her ambition of giving something back to the profession she has followed for more than three decades.

She said: “I trained as a physiotherapist in the 1980s in Sheffield, then later moved to Chester – I was based there until 2005, when I moved to Wales to work with Betsi Cadwaladr health board and lead the physiotherapy team there.

“Then in 2015, I realised that I had been a clinician, been a senior leader, done lots as a healthcare professional – but I wanted to close the circle, give something back – and teach the physiotherapists of the future.

“As it happens, Helen Carey – who leads the Occupational Therapy team at Glyndwr – was developing a physiotherapy degree – I heard about the plans, applied to be a lecturer – and here I am!

“It feels like coming home – both to Wales, and to teaching physiotherapy. Having worked in both Welsh and English healthcare roles, I’ve got an understanding about both – and working at Glyndwr, where there’s been a major programme of investment in technology to help us deliver cutting-edge physiotherapy courses, is absolutely great.

“Our physiotherapy lab – with funding from Health Education Improvement Wales, our commissioners – has lots of the latest kit and has been fitted out to help us deliver both our degree – and this short course!”

To find out more about the ‘Physiotherapy – An Introduction to the career’ short course, click here: