Holly Patterson

My name is Holly and I am a Specialist Respiratory Physiotherapist working in the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. There are two sides to my job (both of which I love).

Firstly, as a Respiratory Physiotherapist, I work to aid patients with secretion clearance, managing their breathlessness and helping patients come off ventilators after periods of time in intensive care. This side of my job see people at their most vulnerable and often most sick. That being said it can be the most satisfying part of my role and both the patients and I get to see instant results (and usually relief).

The other side of my job focussed on rehabilitation and returning people to function. As physio’s, we are blessed with more time to get to know people and how their lives pan out away from hospital. Our job is to hunt down a patients struggles or difficulties and problem solve how we are going to help them reach their goals or adapt their lifestyles to make their everyday easier. This can be as simple as getting them out of bed for the first time or as personalised as progressive overload strengthening programs!

I came from a sports background having completed at national level gymnastics alongside a collection of team sports through school. I’ll be honest at the time of applying to be a physio I only knew of its existence within a sporting context and didn’t even think of all the possibilities (and specialities) a career in physio covered. I completed A-levels but a lot of my university cohort accessed our course through vocational courses at college and additional access courses. It helps to try to get some experience shadowing a physio prior to applying to study but as long as you show you have truly thought about the profession, experience isn’t always necessary.

Most Physiotherapists graduate and go towards rotational posts within hospital. This allows for experience in lots of different specialities such as; neurology (think rehabilitation after stroke or spinal injury), respiratory (chest clearance and condition management), Musculoskeletal (joint injury, sports injuries etc.) and many many more. That being said if you are confident you’re happy with the area you want to specialise some go straight into that field!

My favourite thing about this job is the flexibility and the endless opportunities! I have a habit of getting bored if I am not challenged and I’m ten years down and not bored yet!!