Emma - Lead Physiotherapist NRS

Image of Emma, lead physiotherapist at NRS

Emma is our lead physiotherapist at QEF’s Neuro Rehabilitation Service (NRS). At NRS we provide support for adults with physical, cognitive and/or communication disabilities as a result of an acquired brain injury including stroke, accidents and neurological illness.

“Before I joined QEF, I qualified as a physiotherapist in 2003. I was working as a junior physio in a major hospital in Kent. Whilst I was there, I was in a rotation of each of the basic areas within the hospital which included muscular-skeletal, orthopaedics, paediatric, respiratory, elderly care, intensive care and neuro rehabilitation. During my time at the hospital I was doing 4-6 months periods of time in each of the wards, and after the time I spent within the neurorehabilitation section I knew that that’s where I wanted to specialise. After my time at the hospital I went travelling for 6 months.

I heard about the job at QEF through a friend who worked here, she told me that there was a band 6 physiotherapist opportunity, so I applied for the role in an internet café in Fiji. I had my interview the day I got back from travelling and joined QEF in 2006. A few years later I was promoted up to a band 7 and then promoted again, becoming the lead physiotherapist at QEF’s NRS. I’ve been able to progress my career here, which has been brilliant!

One of the great things about working at QEF is the structure timetable we have. The timetable allows us to know where we need to be, but also it allows the clients to know what they can expect from their rehabilitation. Day to day, we will have 6-7 treatment sessions a day, we’ll also have team meetings, ward rounds and review meetings with families and funders. So, I’m either treating clients, involved in meetings or, as a lead, completing appraisals/supervisions.

We work closely with all the therapy teams (physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and psychology) to create joint goals for the clients, we also do joint treatment sessions to make sure all of our clients get the most out of their rehabilitation. I’m also heavily involved in handing over exercise plans and walking practises to families of care rehab teams so our clients can continue their rehabilitation outside of their physio sessions with our care team or their families.

My role is very rewarding, but there are two parts of the role that stand out to me. The first is seeing the difference and the progress our clients are making, you’re helping them to make a recovery. And secondly, we become part of their journey. Before QEF, they had a devastating stroke/accident/illness and the rehab they have here is such an important part of that story.

Some people come to us unable to walk and leave able to walk and the changes really can be as big as that. It’s really lovely. We don’t have visiting hours for families or friends and there are no rules for the visitors so we encourage them to be as involved as they would like to be – and how much the clients would like them to be.

The CRC is going to be a great addition to QEF, although we will still be able to provide the same great quality of service, we’ve always provided but it’ll soon be in a building that has been purpose built.

The new gym at the CRC is going to be twice the size of the one we use now, and we’ll be merging with the physio team from the Independent Living Services. I know our clients will be moving in purpose-built rooms, with overhead hoists and tracking systems into their bathrooms and all of the equipment is brand new which will make a big difference.

I’ve been at QEF for 13 years, so to pick a favourite memory is hard. I’ve got so many lovely memories, of so many different clients. I have memories of clients taking their first steps, but then also memories of clients achieving their very specific goals.

One of our clients acquired a brain injury, but he set a goal very early on of being able to walk to the pub across the road to buy us all a drink to say thank you, and although at the time it seemed like a very ambitious goal, he did it. We walked over there as a team, and all had some lunch together.

Another of clients, a very young man who was very into his rugby wanted to get back to playing rugby, so overtime we mocked up a tackle bag so he could practise. We position a crash mate next to it and had him throwing himself at the tackle bag and onto the mat, absolutely loving it!

My favourite part about working for QEF is helping people achieve very specific goals, that mean a lot to them. It really does make my job more rewarding!