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I have recently started working for Physio.co.uk as a Junior Physiotherapist and have been undertaking their junior competency training programme.

The programme is one of the things that I thought made the company stand out from other private practices when I was interviewed for the role and was definitely among the reasons why I was so keen to accept the position.

The programme consists of:

  • 13 different topics
  • Weekly sessions, involving;
  • Underpinning theory
  • Practical element
  • Q & A and Discussion of current patients
  • 6 monthly review and bonus based on competency performance

Format

The sessions run weekly and are two hours long.  

You get given a certain topic and will have a week to prepare for it by researching and answering a series of questions.

All the juniors then meet up on a Friday afternoon. At the start of the session, there is an opportunity to run through any questions you may have regarding any patients you may be wanting to discuss, which gives you chance to bounce ideas off each other and see how others may have dealt with similar presentations.  

You then begin to run through all the underpinning theory for that section.

This will include an explanation of anatomical structures, palpation, associated pathologies, and likely subjective assessment questions regarding that region.

The following week will then be the practical element to reinforce the theory from the week previous.

This will include objective assessment methods, special tests, and methods of treatment for common pathologies within that region.     

courseTopics

The first few topics begin with the underpinning theory for how the musculoskeletal system operates, including:

  • Structural and biomechanical properties
  • Pain, referral and diagnosis
  • Injury and repairing of the MSK system

They then begin to become located to a particular anatomical region, starting at the cervical spine and working down.

For example, one week you will be given the theory of the SIJ and will research and answer the preparation questions in advance.

You will then meet on a Friday and run through the supporting theory. Then the following week you will run through the practical element related to the theory.

Then the next week you will change to another anatomical region, and so on…   

Completion of competencies

Upon completing the Junior Competency Programme you are then appraised on your performance during the sessions.

This is mainly centred around how interactive you have been in the sessions, how much effort you have put into your preparation etc.

You are then awarded a bonus related to how well you have performed. This can be up to 10% of your annual salary over the period of a year.

Following completion of your MSK competencies (which takes around 6 months), you then rotate onto Neurology and begin to undertake the Neurology Competency Programme, in which a similar structure is adopted.DSC_0664Thoughts?

I’ve found the programme really good!

I feel like the frequency and quality of training are much better than what I may have received elsewhere. This has been reinforced by speaking with my friends who work within the NHS and other private practices within the region, who say they get nowhere near as much input.

Personally, I have benefitted loads from the programme so far.

I feel my anatomical and clinical knowledge definitely required input following some time away travelling post-graduating, however, I would even suggest that even fairly experienced physios would probably benefit from the sessions as the level of depth covered in each session is quite thorough.

I think it makes the prospect of starting your first job feel far more supportive and less daunting, and I think everybody would probably benefit from having such programmes in place during this period.

I especially liked how the programme begins with the theory of how things operate at a cellular level.

These principles are fundamental to having an appreciation of what is then observed clinically while understanding how different treatments may be adopted to target various structures during the healing process. I definitely feel like I may have overlooked these ‘basics’ if I hadn’t undertaken the programme and then would probably have struggled to understand exactly why certain things were presenting clinically.   

Following the completion of the programme, you are also encouraged to help to run the sessions with other junior members of staff. I think this is a decent idea and it would definitely help to keep ‘up to scratch’ with aspects of your knowledge (such as anatomy of certain regions etc).

On top of all that I think the bonus set-up is pretty good as well. As well as giving an incentive to perform well and interact appropriately during the sessions, it gives you the opportunity to receive a sum of money which can then be used as a treat or spent as you like!

Improvements?

Not really!

It is exactly what I needed personally during my first post as a qualified physio, and I can’t really think of anything that would improve the way it is delivered.

In terms of the content, I don’t really think there is anything more that can really be added to improve it, as it is really pretty thorough.

The structure also works well and it’s pretty nice to have a designated time when everybody can meet up and discuss things and then run through your competencies.

All in all, it works really well and I can’t think of how it could be much better!  

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