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Nicola McLaughlin

Career Path: Senior Physiotherapist, Health Service Executive
Location: Dublin, ROI

I had always thought about working in healthcare as a doctor or a physiotherapist as I had meningitis at 16. I always remember the care I had in hospital and how much of a positive impact physios and doctors made on my recovery and to this day. At that time in 2003 when I started my degree I thought it was the right choice. However after working in business for a year in 2018 I knew I was in the wrong career! I took some time out to travel and after a year away I returned to Ireland to begin my career path to becoming a Physiotherapist. I'm 2010 after completing a number of health courses I began studying for a Post Graduate Diploma in Exercise Physiology In Trinity College Dublin. In 2011 I moved to Newcastle upon Tyne to begin my studied at Northumbria completing the MSc pre registration course in Physiotherapy.

What are you doing now?Nicola McLaughlin

I am a Senior Physiotherapist working in disability services with children and adults with complex physical and intellectual disabilities. My role is varied and physiotherapy input is focused on the individual needs of the service users and their family and carers. With the Covid 19 pandemic I continue to be resilient and adaptable to deliver person-centred care. I am continuing my professional development and currently undertaking a Professional Diploma in Leadership and Managing People over the summer months online. I am due to commence a Professional Diploma in Clinical Leadership in September 2020. Both of these courses will enhance my skills and knowledge in delivery of healthcare services during these challenging times.

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

I remember at the time one of the reasons why I wanted to study at Northumbria was the friendly and helpful staff who I contacted about the course initially. I felt at ease and confident in applying for the course as the academic course leaders were very helpful and addressed any queries I had at the time. Another reason was the reputation that Northumbria had for teaching especially for health care courses. Also the two year accelerated course was one of the other reasons as I felt that the course structure suited my learning style and also as a mature student. The location of the University was another reason. It was very central and the coach lane campus, when I went for an interview, I was really impressed with the clinical teaching rooms. The warm friendly welcome when I went for my interview was also a reason why I wanted to study there. I have many happy memories studying at Northumbria University. The lecturers and tutors were excellent.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

The mixture of lectures was brilliant and the interactive peer learning too. Feedback was always honest and constructive and very helpful to my learning.

How connected was your course with industry?

Yes the placement officer was brilliant at the organisation of placements. There was a great mix of placement experiences available.

If you took on a placement during your course how did you feel this helped you in your career/ with your studies?

The placements offered were instrumental to my studies and personal and professional development. All the teaching hospitals were a really good learning experience to consolidate my learning.

What was the best thing about your course?

Quite a number of things to be honest! The peer learning, the interactive lectures and the lecturers and tutors support was superb. The structure of the course suited my learning style as an accelerated course and in terms of my career path. It was always a very friendly environment in the University. My favoruite memory was graduating in 2013 and seeing the lecturer there really made the day as they had been on the journey with us. The support personally and professionally was outstanding.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

Northumbria had a high reputation for delivering health care courses so I think that definitely gave me an edge in terms of securing employment here in Ireland. The NHS experience had really stood to me in terms of clinical experience compared to other physiotherapists who never worked in the NHS. I think the qualification in the MSc pre registration course definitely have me the edge in terms of career progression.

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

I learned the importance of interpersonal skills, communication and being able to work independently and as part of a team. Other skills such as decision making and managing complex clinical commitments are other skills I utilise now and will do throughout my career. Also I think being adaptable and flexible to meet the needs of service users and delivering high quality care.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

The atmosphere was always buzzing! There was a good social side to Northumbria with lots of clubs and societies. I just loved the buzz also of living in Newcastle.

What advice would you give somebody who is considering studying at Northumbria?

Definitely apply to Northumbria! It was one of the best decisions I've made! The lecturers and tutors are very supportive and friendly. The placement experience will really consolidate your leaning. There is lots of excellent teaching hospital in Newcastle and placements offered will give you real life experience as physiotherapy student.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

Inspiring, happy and enjoyable!

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