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BSc Sports Therapy to PhD and Physiotherapist

  • Name : Rhian (she/her)

  • Job Title: PhD Candidate and Band 5 Physiotherapist

  • A levels/ equivalent - Biology, Spanish, Physical Education

  • Undergrad and post grad degrees- BSc Sports Therapy, MSc Physiotherapy

Journey in 3 Words: unexpected, amazing, fast
  • Briefly describe your current role

I am currently in the 3rd year of my PhD investigating Depression and Hip Fracture and I'm also a part time Band 5 Physiotherapist. I am investigating Depression and Hip Fracture and looking at the prevalence and patterns of depression and depressive symptoms in hip fracture patients and then looking to see what role physiotherapy rehabilitation plays in improving patient outcomes

  • What motivated you to pursue a career in science ?

I always had an interest in Biology at school and combined it with my love of sport and found Physiotherapy the perfect fit

  • What is a typical week like for you?

I work from home doing my research work 4 days a week so mainly sitting behind computer screens or occasionally in a coffee shop and then on a Wednesday I'm at the hospital where I currently work in Neurology Outpatients seeing patient's who have MS, had a stroke etc.

  • Would you describe your role as varied or predictable and how does that tie into your personality?

my research days are quite varied as some weeks/days I'm analysing data, or writing up a paper or preparing to present at conferences or planning for other projects like focus groups etc. I do get bored easily so the fact that I'm not doing the same task everyday works perfectly for me

  • What is an insight you gained about your job only after you started?

Science (particularly quantitative science where I'm doing secondary analysis of datasets requires A LOT of coding)

  • How did you know a PhD was for you ?

I didn't at first, but i fell into being a research assistant and realised i liked research, my supervisor at the time who later became a mentor asked if I had considered doing a PhD. I hadn't but then started thinking I would enjoy doing one. I got the opportunity to start it a lot sooner than I had planned but felt I couldn't pass on the opportunity so started my PhD a month after completing my masters in Physiotherapy, at the same time I didn't want to lose my clinical skills so I managed to get a band 5 one a day a week part time Physiotherapy job (which doesn't really exist).

  • Mentorship and nurturing spaces are key to an enjoyable PhD, how has yours made this journey easier for you and what advice would you give people looking for more support?

I have an angel of a supervisor who I had worked with for 3 years on and off before I started my PhD so we already had a great working relationship and literally anything I need, she's always there to help/advise, basically whatever I need so she's made this whole process a whole lot easier

  • How do you maintain a good work-life balance both doing a PhD and working-

not sure, as I don't know if I do ahah, I just try to make a conscious effort to meet up with friends and family and get fresh air and natural light everyday but there are definitely times when I feel like I'm just working constantly

  • What excites you the most about your research ?

The impact it'll hopefully have on patient's who are struggling

  • What advice would you give on picking universities -

look at the student life of the area, the modules/supervisors, and student satisfaction (you could do this by asking current students of the university)

  • Are there a list of common skills as a physiotherapist and PhD student you think people should be aware of ?-

Critical thinking, problem solving, project management, presenting, evidence based practice

  • What advice would you give on dealing with rejection and perseverance?

Never let it deter you, along every step of my journey I've had rejections but i just kept going and i always ended up getting something better than i had initially hoped up

  • What were your perceptions of being a scientist before you started your course?

I'd seen quite a range of scientists before so it seemed very varied and wide

  • What career paths did you feel were available to you before you started your course and how has that changed now?

I thought I'd have to choose between being a clinical Physiotherapist or a researcher but now I know there are many pathways that I could take that allow me to do both

  • Outside science how would you describe yourself ?

very into sports, an avid baker and I lovee spending time with my family and friends

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