Qualified & Practising: The Diary of a Junior Physiotherapist [S1E11] - The final chapter: One year down the line

by Nikki Anderton





In this blog series, Nikki takes over to tell us about her experience as a newly qualified physio and to describe the joys, fears and people she meets along the way. She'll also share her tips which might be useful to some of you too!

All episodes from Nikki's blog series ››


A year has passed since I wrote my first blog post and I thought that it would be a great opportunity to reflect on my time so far as a Physiotherapist. 

At first, possibly due to my self-critical nature, I found it difficult to identify how I have progressed or even if I have. However, reading back over my first blog post in this series has helped me determine ways in which I have evolved as a practitioner.  

I am currently settled into my third rotation in Acute Inpatients on a General Medical ward which I am really enjoying! I am able to gain respiratory skills on ITU as well as build on my existing ward based ones.



Then and now


The same fears and anxieties I had at the beginning of student placements and at the start of my professional career have never truly dissipated. Even at the start of my third rotation, a diluted version still re-visited me. However, taking a look at some of the challenges I identified a year ago has in itself, boosted my self-efficacy somewhat.

When I first started working, not having a clinical educator as a comfort blanket anymore was a shock to the system and I recall that reduced confidence in my own ability and knowledge was something that I struggled with at the beginning of my first rotation. A year down the line and I feel as though I have definitely found my feet as a Band 5. I am confident about my role and scope of practice. Although I still turn to my colleagues for advice and support, I find myself independently problem solving more complex patients - something I perhaps wouldn’t have done fresh out of university.

One of my objectives in my Personal Development Plan is to gain experience in supervising others and students. In August I attended the Practice Educator Training day at King's University and re-familiarised myself with the all-too-familiar placement marking scheme.

Trying my hand as a practice educator has encouraged me to reflect on my student days and recall the things that I found helpful on my placements, including the various teaching styles I received from my six educators. Each student will identify their own learning needs and therefore, with experience, I hope to adapt my own teaching style and become flexible to fit the individual.

Supervising a student has confirmed how much I have learned over the past year. Nevertheless, I have caught myself re-cycling some of the lines my clinical educators used with me; “why don’t you read up on that and we will discuss it tomorrow” to buy myself some time to revise the theory I once knew so well at university! I have realised that my own student placements have helped to shape what kind of educator I aspire to be.


The pros of being a rotational 5...


Personally, I would recommend a rotational job - especially if, like me, you are unsure of what area of physiotherapy is for you. Completing rotations has allowed me to accumulate a bank of knowledge which I believe has shaped me into becoming a more holistic clinician. For example, I often find myself drawing on resources I became familiar with on my community placement which allows me to signpost patients to services upon discharge. Furthermore, rotating has given me the opportunity to work in various parts of the pathway, which I feel is invaluable experience before progressing to Band 6 level or specialising in a particular area.


What is next


As cheesy as it sounds, I am proud of the progress I have made as a Physiotherapist so far. I thought I would finish my blog with some tips for objectives to support a Personal Development Plan for Band 6 progression;

  • Gain some experience in supervising others, for example a student or therapy assistant. The supervision of others is something which you are required to do at band 6 level, so if you are able to get involved, it would be a great thing to talk about in an interview!
  • As a band 6 you will be expected to get involved in inservice training so, if the opportunity arises, teach others! Assist with any teaching sessions for therapy assistants or feedback to the team/other band 5s about a recent course you may have been on.
  • Make sure you are actively involved in projects and service development as a band 5. If you have managed to duck out of it so far, you certainly won’t be able to as a band 6!



Nikki Anderton

About the author

Nikki Anderton

Nikki is a newly-qualified physiotherapist with a previous degree in Human Communication Sciences, currently working in a busy university hospital in East London. She was the first ever to sign up to one of our seminars when we started back in 2015; and became our first ever resident blogger a year later! You can get in contact with Nikki at nikki@qualifiedphysio.co.uk.