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Working in stroke—a new starter’s perspective

By Katie Jeeves (Physiotherapist)—My name is Katie, I qualified as a physiotherapist in September 2012 and have now been at the Trust for 5 months as a junior physiotherapist. About a month ago I joined the stroke team. I am writing this blog in the hope that I can provide not only a good insight into the workings of the stroke unit, but to also give you my perspective as I develop professionally as a new member of the team on Nell Gwynne Ward.

Katie Jeeves, Physiotherapist

6 March 2013

My name is Katie, I qualified as a physiotherapist in September 2012 and have now been at the Trust for 5 months as a junior physiotherapist. About a month ago I joined the stroke team. I am writing this blog in the hope that I can provide not only a good insight into the workings of the stroke unit, but to also give you my perspective as I develop professionally as a new member of the team on Nell Gwynne Ward.

Nell Gwynne is a 34-bed ward which accommodates patients who have had a stroke, patients who suffer from neurological conditions, and general medical patients. All of these patients may require physiotherapy services, but for the purposes of this blog, I will concentrate on those who have suffered a stroke.

Firstly, it is important to understand what a stroke is. Simply, stroke occurs when there has been damage to the brain. This may be caused by rupturing and bleeding of blood vessels (haemorrhage) or when the brain tissue is starved of blood (ischemic). Depending upon where in the brain, and the size of the haemorrhage or ischemia, there may be any number of symptoms.

I have quickly learnt that the location of the stroke and the symptoms don’t always correlate as the textbooks told me they should. Nevertheless, as a physiotherapist, I treat what I see, regardless of whether you expect to see that symptom or not. This makes the treatment of a stroke patient highly individualised as no two stroke patients are the same. Therefore, to make sure all the patients’ needs are met, you need to be able to work with many other health disciplines.

Consequently, anyone who has spent time on Nell Gwynne, either professional or non-professionally, will appreciate that the moment you step foot on the ward you are swept up in a flurry of health professionals organising assessments, re-evaluating and liaising with various medical teams in order to make a patient’s time on the ward as swift and as comfortable as possible.

As I am learning, this is not always the easiest of jobs. There are so many things that can impact the ‘smooth sailing’ of a patient’s recovery and hospital discharge after suffering a stroke. I hope this blog highlights the hard work that we in the stroke team deliver, and also demonstrates some of the challenges that I come across on Nell Gwynne.

I look forward to your comments.

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