Jobs for the girls

Jobs for the Girls: Leah talks about her career as a specialist physiotherapist.

Leah in uniform at workName: Leah
Occupation: Specialist Physiotherapist
Hours per week: Many, many!
Do you enjoy your work? I love it.

What does your job/day involve?

I start the day gently with a stretch and a breathe and I take time to be glad and think about the people trusting their wellbeing to me. Each day is different, but most days I will do ‘hands on’ physio as well as business activities like networking, marketing, admin, lots of laundry (cosy rugs etc), social media, letters, emails, writing articles, going on courses, speaking at things, trying to remember to do my pelvic floor exercises. At the end of the day, I always check my diary to see who is coming in tomorrow, so that my brain can do some considering while I am asleep.  I do like putting all the fresh laundry into my treatment room before I go to bed too, so that it’s cosy and welcoming for the clients arriving the next day.

What is your favourite and least favourite thing about your job?

I like everything about my job, but if I ever feel rushed, that would be my least favourite thing.

Leah at workWhy this job? How did you get to this point? How long have you been in this field?

I have been in physiotherapy for 30 years and the majority of last 22 years have been spent in oncology and palliative care including establishing a new physio post in a breast surgery and reconstruction team and time at Freedom from Torture. Amongst many others courses, I have done several post graduate courses about scarring and find working in this area fascinating and inspiring. I’m also fascinated by the effects of trauma on the brain and love working with older people needing “a bit of physio” to keep mobile. All of that as well as a passion to work for myself and be available as a Mum resulted in Lune Valley Physiotherapy.

How is your work/life balance and how do you relax when you are not working?

My life is mostly balanced, although balance is a dynamic thing!!  I walk, talk with friends, attend Quaker Meetings, read, play in a quartet, and love to snuggle up with my favourite people. I also make a point of remembering to check my tummy and throat in case I am holding any tightness – oh and I see Julie Weaver for massage and reflexology when I can.

Is there anything you bring to the job because you are a woman?

Perhaps my interest in continence and sexual well being from a woman’s point of view is something I have been drawn to because I am a woman. I also find that the majority of the people who choose me as their physio are women.

Have there been obstacles in your career because you are a woman? If yes, what measures could be taken to dismantle the obstacles?

When I trained, physio was a predominantly female profession and I had been at an empowering girls’ school. It’s still not a “level playing field,” though and until caring for relatives or being a Mum and homemaker are recognised, we are likely to lag behind men financially. I had some great older women role models in my family when I was small and still have inspiring women in my life in their 80s and 90s. I also belong to several women’s networking groups.

Is there something you wished you had done instead?

I’m glad to be a physio but don’t rule out psychotherapy or art/music therapy in later life.