James Thwaites Case Study

What is it Like to Study Physiotherapy?

James was born in London and moved to Oxfordshire when he started primary school. Having always been a physical and sporty person, he knew he wanted to carve out a hands-on career. James works as a carer at a school for severely autistic children when he is not at university, which has inspired him to remain in the care sector and become a Physiotherapist in order to help people. 

What inspired you to study a Physiotherapy degree?

My love for helping others, as well as my interest in anatomy which I developed during A-Level Biology.

Why did you choose to study at your university?

I loved the Campus, but the main clincher was that Nottingham was one of the top unis for physiotherapy.

What do you like about the course?

I value the feel of professionalism on my course, magnified by the small intake of students which fosters a very intimate and in depth educational atmosphere. You know every single peer and tutor very well.

What are you learning about?

My areas of study include Diseases, Anatomy, Pathophysiology, Research Methods, Treatment and Diagnosis along with clinical reasoning.

What learning methods does your department employ?

Physio employs a vast range of teaching methods. These include Practical sessions, seminars, lectures, dissection rooms, treating fake patients and gym sessions.  

What aspects of the course do you find difficult? Does the department support you well?

I feel very secure in my course, and support is available to me. However, a physiotherapy degree comes with a caveat. It is not an easy course, the work load is huge and contact hours are 0900-1700 most days. You have to be certain before embarking on this course. 

How do you fund your studies?

I Had a full time job last year, so that has helped a little bit, however I do not get enough funding to live on and to cover my rent, so every penny earned last year has gone onto accommodation, books and food.

What about the social side of things at university, does a Physiotherapy student find much time for it? What sort of things do you get up to?

The social life of a physio is slightly more restricted than that of a normal student. The high number of contact hours dictates that you can't be going out 3 times a week like some other first year students. We normally stick to going out most Fridays and during the day time I enjoy playing in university sports societies. 

What do you plan to do once you’ve graduated?

I am considering a Masters, however I expect to work in the NHS for a few years to build my experience and confidence in the field. 

How has your department supported your career aspirations?

They have an open door policy and help with any questions or concerns. The support offered to me at Nottingham is one of the best aspects of the course.