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Career developmentMar 8, 2021

Leadership programme seeks students on physiotherapy courses who want to 'make a difference'

Students studying physiotherapy can apply to join a high-profile student leadership programme, which is run by the Council of Deans of Health and opens for applications on 1 April.

Fifty fully funded places are available for the 2021 programme, which is supported by the Burdett Trust for Nursing and Health Education England. It aims to recruit ‘individuals who aspire to lead and make a difference’.

Photo Credit: Council of Deans of Health
Ex-participant Nick Flanagan learned about professional networking using social media

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Applicants must either be in the first or second year of pre-registration undergraduate courses in the nursing, midwifery or allied health professional (AHP) fields, or be a first-year pre-registration postgraduate student in the same fields.

An applications webinar is scheduled to start at 8pm on 30 March, at which potential applicants can find out why, and how, they should apply. Some people who have passed through the leadership programme – known as #150Leaders – will be on hand to answer questions.

Thus far, more than 250 students from across the UK have participated in the year-long leadership training programme, which includes conferences, workshops, one-to-one coaching and an ‘online community of leadership practice’.

Nick Flanagan: a physiotherapy student's experience 

One physiotherapist who successfully completed the 2020 programme says he learned about the power of professional networking on social media. Nick Flanagan, from Teesside University, appears in a case study in a publication on the Council of Deans of Health website, along with 10 other case studies featuring students aspiring to join the health professions.

I learned about the power of professional networking on social media. Within days, I had developed an extensive and supportive network of likeminded professionals [Nick Flanagan]

Mr Flanagan describes how he pursued his own interest in the rehabilitation of people with HIV, a topic that was too specialist to be covered in his degree course.

‘I used my initiative and research skills to explore the area and its relevance to physiotherapy. When I took part in the student leadership programme, I learned about the power of professional networking on social media. Within days, I had developed an extensive and supportive network of likeminded professionals.’

Mr Flanagan went on to attend an international conference in Canada, having obtained the funds to do so. ‘Following the trip, I went on to partake in research which culminated in publishing evidence at an international conference. This was an invaluable experience that has merged my skills between clinical practice and research.'

'Be brave, be bold'

While acknowledging that being at university offers students a ‘unique professional skill set’ and ensures they become 'safe' practitioners, Mr Flanagan says developing leadership skills enables people to become ‘more self-aware and confident’.

‘These qualities make us better humans, and ultimately help us to progress both personally and professionally.’ Asked what advice he would give other physiotherapy students who aspire to a leadership role, Mr Flanagan added: ‘There is a leader inside every single one of us. Believe in yourself: be brave and be bold!’

See: https://councilofdeans.org.uk/studentleadership/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AHP-Leading-The-Way.pdf

Key points

The Council of Deans of Health represents the UK’s university faculties engaged in education and research for nurses, midwives and AHPs. At any one time, its members will be educating about 120,000 future registered health professionals.

Author: Ian A McMillan
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