The Journey to Physiotherapy by Chris Milligan, Rotational Physiotherapist.

The journey to physiotherapy.

Chris Milligan (Christopher.milligan2@ggc.scot.nhs.uk) Rotational Physiotherapist.

I am currently redeployed at Older People’s Service at GRI as part of an effort to help support acute services due to an increase in COVID-19 numbers in recent months. Over the past few weeks, I have found myself reflecting on my time within the NHS and my journey to date.

I started in the NHS almost 10 years ago as a 20 year old who left school with modest grades and no clue where I was going or what I was doing with my life. I started as a band 2 befriender at Leverndale hospital which was such a rewarding job. I was only there for 8 months but the experience and personal skills gained has stood me in good stead.

A band 2 generic PT/OT support worker role came up and at this point I had no idea what physiotherapy entailed within the NHS but my partner had encouraged myself to go for it. Luckily enough, I got the job which has changed my life completely.

Over the next 3 years, I moved from the WIG, to the old SGH, before moving into the new QEUH and finally GRI. Moving up through the bands from 2, 3 and finally band 4 respectively. I have had the absolute pleasure in working with fantastic and inspiring physiotherapists who have helped shape the person I am today. I applied to go to University to further my career but was told even though I had great experience, I had been out of school for too long and therefore didn’t meet the entry requirements. This is probably the most frustrating part of my journey. I could not leave my full time job to go back to college to do my Highers and this seemed to be the only way forward.

After months of discussions and disappointments; GCU had agreed I could complete 3 modules at the Open University which the NHS Education for Scotland kindly agreed to fund otherwise I would not have been able to afford this.

Going back to higher education as a mature student was daunting; as if I didn’t succeed I would not only be letting myself down but everyone else who had supported me to get to this point. Throughout my first 2 years at GCU, I still was working as a bank band 4 at weekends and summer holidays for any team that would have me; often OPS pulled the short straw. The first 2 years flew by then COVID-19 happened; the university went to online teaching, I came back to work for the NHS full time in my band 4 role whilst doing my online classes and assessments from home or in an empty office somewhere in the hospital.

I graduated last year and manage to secure a rotational band 5 post within GG&C and found myself back at GRI; it was a proper full circle moment.

The past 4 years and especially the last 2 have been difficult, stressful and scary. I have been lucky enough that I have had a good support network around me that have continued to push me on to become the best person I can be. 2022 is a big year for me personally, I will have completed a full year as a rotational physio, knowing that the hard work and determination of the past 4 years was worth it. I am getting married, looking to start the adoption process and I cannot wait to see what the future holds.

“In a world where you can be anything; be kind”!

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