How a NES AHP Careers Fellowship Starts and How It Ends! by Judith Montgomery, Childrens Physiotherapist @Hey_jude_m #AHPCFS2022 @NESnmahp

Why might you read this blog? I am currently completing a NES AHP Career Fellowship. If you are a therapist working with children, if you are thinking of applying for the NES AHP Career fellowship programme, or starting a small project or test of change all on your own, why not have a read!? Just a short summary of my project and my learning in completing it.

Me at the start of my Fellowship

I’m a children’s physiotherapist working in orthopaedics, burns & plastics in the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.

I’ve never written a blog.

I may stick my head in the sand a little when facing a daunting challenge but always face it when a deadline looms!

I’m proud to be a NES AHP Careers Fellow on my way to changing my little corner of the health service with my project, and looking forward to meeting all of my fellow fellows !

How did I start my project?

I’d say with a grand plan, with a passion to change something about my work that I could see wasn’t working, with a defined path in my head that set out all of my steps from data collection to project output.  On the other hand, I started without a clue, as much as I had planned things and read things and collected evidence, I didn’t really know how the project would work! Thankfully, as much as I had my plan, I also had an open mind and an idea to listen to and accept the education offered by NES as I lived my project.

What was the grand plan?

Short version: it was to change how we (physios) treat children and young people with tendon injuries in their arm or hand after surgery. To streamline care basing it on guidelines written from current evidence and to ensure patient information was available for all patient presentations.  The idea being that these guidelines and patient information resources would allow us to ensure that every child or young person receives the same level of care, and none of them have wasted trips to hospital. 

How did my project end?

Well, it hasn’t ended yet….small things like a new job, a hospital move, and a global pandemic have sought to scupper the grand plan. What changed also was that I realised, as I was crunching my numbers, that the numbers actually meant nothing in this work. As a niche service, numbers were never going to show much at all about what I managed to achieve.  With the help of NES, I found my way through qualitative outcome measures and diverted the whole project to focus on staff education.  I realised that the variations in patient pathway were linked to variations in staff knowledge and confidence in treating these complex patient presentations.  I am now producing an educational resource, a package of training, which is learner centred and will help my colleagues and therefore ultimately streamline patient care.  The same outcome but via a different route. I have also started the process of sharing this package with other paediatric therapy teams as I produce it, another positive outcome I hadn’t predicted .

Me at the end of my fellowship

Still a children and young persons physio. Now with 2 jobs, also working with children and young people who experience major trauma in the brand new shiny Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh.

I still rely on deadlines for motivation…some things are hard to change (sorry @Audreynesahp)

I listen more (thank you @brigidrussell51)

I am more able to see the project process not just the outcome I am shooting for and i’m less afraid to change direction if it needs to be changed, thanks all involved in the NES AHP Career Fellowship for your help on this one .

I am also still really proud to have been part of this Fellowship cohort and have grown very fond of my 2-dimensional Microsoft Teams fellow friends and I wish them all the best with completing their projects and their journeys too, one day we may even meet in person !

If you work in paediatric hand therapy/ burns and plastics and would like further information about this project please contact me on or on twitter @Hey_jude_m


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