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Physiotherapy reading books

Physiotherapy reading books

Getting an offer from Bournemouth University for Physiotherapy has been one my biggest opportunities to date. Although coming straight from Sixth Form made me nervous initially, with perhaps less clinical experience than more mature students, I soon realised this is to everyone’s advantage. As a small cohort you get to know other students well and share experiences, while the lecturers encourage you and support you in the whole university experience.

As many of our lecturers are currently still working in practice, they have provided opportunities outside of university lectures. Some of us have volunteered with the local charities Wessex Warriors, Ability Counts and Dorset Demons Goalball, while external talks have provided an insight into different areas you can specialise in as a Physiotherapist.

Two student physiotherapists practicing in skills room

Practice in the skills labs

Day-to-day life

In year 2 of my physiotherapy course, the start is a little earlier than last year! A typical day starts at 10:00 and finishes at 16:00, but with breaks in between and a choice of two bakeries just over the road you know you’ll always have enough brain fuel! The day is usually split into two hours of theory in the morning then putting this into hands-on practice in the afternoon, using each other as the models, so you soon become comfortable with each other. I won’t lie that there isn’t work to do outside lecture hours, but this is manageable and there is time allocated to allow for this.

As physiotherapy students we’re largely based in Studland House at Lansdowne, but could also be in Royal London or Bournemouth House for our lectures too. If there is a break between lectures it’s not far to the library, with all the resources you need to help with studying. Each assignment or assessment is different on our course, catering for all types of learners and enabling a large breadth of skills for when we go on placement.

On Placement

In year 1 we have a total of seven weeks out on practice, with one week of this being an observational placement, providing the opportunity to put into perspective our learning early on. All the other placements are six weeks at a time, split evenly over the next couple of years to get over 1,000 hours on placement and become qualified! The university tries to get you a wide range of placements, such as respiratory, neurological, community and out- patient placements over the three years, after we’ve recently studied them at university.

Picture of student Ellen


A typical day is around 9am-5pm, give or take half an hour, five days a week. As a first year student, you’re largely supported throughout your whole placement by your Practice Placement Educator, who helps you prioritise your own caseloads and justify why you’re doing that therapy in particular. At first I shadowed my mentor and got to grips with the therapeutic handling, mobility assessments and respiratory assessments, before having my own ward of patients and being entrusted with choosing who was a priority for therapy. I got to contribute in the board round meetings, discharge patients and developed my communication skills with both patients and staff.

If I had to choose, I’d say my favourite part of physiotherapy so far is the patients, as they each have their own stories so every assessment is different.

I’m looking forward to studying outpatients and seeing how different this will be from what we have done before. With physiotherapists now working in a wide spectrum of roles who knows where they could be working next.

Ellen, Physiotherapy student


New for 2020: Occupational therapy students on courses from September 2020 may be eligible for non-repayable government funding of at least £5,000 a year. Further details on who can access the support will be available in early 2020. Find out more information about the funding in the website.

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