Whether it’s prior to university or you are looking for a bit of extra experience make sure you are ahead of the game to secure your placement.
1. Are you prepared? The great saying “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” It is so important to take time planning a task before you do it. What do you want to say? What do you need to remember? How can you change your tone/behaviours/wording which will improve your success rate? Do you remember the first time you hit a tennis ball ? I suspect you were like me un-co-ordinated, clumsy and slow? Communication is a skill. It must be learned and you may already have good communications skills but practising the conversation first will make sure you come across articulated and professional (two attributes which will take you far in any career). Try a role play with a friend/parent to ensure you have practised and ironed out a nervousness!
Write down what you would like to say and key points so that you do not forget anything. That in mind try to keep things brief (particularly if leaving a telephone message).
- Hi my name is…
- I am 16 years etc…
- I am doing my GCSE’s/ A-levels/undergrad …
- I am looking for an opportunity to improve my knowledge/ skills
- I am extremely flexibly and can work around you … (Only if you are! Remember they (the physio) are doing you a favour so if you have to cycle a mile because your mum can’t drop you- if you want it you’ll have to do it and it will also help show commitment for something you are passionate about!)
- If this would be possible please could you give me a call on …….
2. Please and thank you. It sounds obvious but be polite. These connections may get you a job in the future and manners cost nothing. At the end of the day people are likely to employ/give placements to people who are likeable – skills can be trained. These are all qualities which will help you in your role as a physiotherapists and are easy things to improve your chances!
3. Remember they are doing you a favour!! Try changing perspectives and imagine you have a friend with you at school. Imagine how hard a day would be if you had to show them round, explain where everything was , explain what maths test you are doing, how to do algebra all whilst completing your own work at the same time. Physio’s often love having students but it is hard work. Often they will have to spend time explaining things to you (which they dont mind) but normally they could be writing notes etc. So be grateful and try to be helpful and fit in around the clinician (physio). Ask the physio if they mind you asking questions when the client (patient) is in the room because some may prefer to explain after.
Thing not to do:
“Hi my name is Fred, I want to be a sports therapist and need some experience. Please call me back asap on this number.”
Things that I thought when receiving this call.
a) I have many students looking for experience perhaps my time would be better dedicated to those who want to do physiotherapy.
b)I have just worked a 10 hour day I’m not sure I want to get back to him ASAP.
c) 10 people have called since his call I don’t know his number.
4. Take a deep breath before you call. This will help reduce your nervousness. It does get easier the more times you have to do it!
5. Be sure you understand what physiotherapy is. everyone knows that physios run onto sports fields but taht is only one fraction of their contribution in healthcare. read up on their roles in mental health, women’s health, in hospital, on the wards and following surgery to make sure that physiotherapy is definitely for you! Why not check out some reflections to see how other physiotherapists have found working as a physio?