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ExclusiveJun 21, 2024

Meet David Clancy, lead editor of a book titled Essential Skills for Physiotherapists and much more!

In the 15 years since he graduated in physiotherapy from Keele University, David has carved out an exciting career as sports medicine specialist and consultant. He's also a trainer and a director of an international recruitment company in the sports medicine and performance fields. 

Find out what first motivated David to become a physiotherapist and what sparks his interest and motivates him today in this exclusive PhysioUpdate Q&A. He discusses everything from the challenges of keeping a team of editors and writers together to what he consumes for breakfast and how he relaxes away from work. 

What attracted you to physiotherapy, and when and where did you graduate?

An interest in the human body generally, and my own injuries from playing basketball and football: a broken wrist, ankle issues and myositis ossificans in my quad being a major one when I was playing basketball for Ireland under-age.

I graduated in 2009 in physiotherapy in Keele University after gaining a two-year higher certificate at the Institute of Technology, Carlow in Ireland (now South East Technological University). I later completed an MSc in Sports and Exercise Medicine at Trinity College Dublin.

After successfully completing the book, David is now looking forward to the launch party

Power Diary
Power Diary

You have a finger in lots of pies! What drives you to seek new opportunities?

Curiosity and a growth mindset. I feel I’m playing in the infinite game so following purpose, passion, and my interests. 

I have a tattoo that has an image of the layer cake, influenced by the movie and the infamous speech the actor Michael Gambon gives to Daniel Craig in the film: ‘You’re born, you take sh*t. You get out in the world, you take more sh*t. You climb a little higher, you take less sh*t. Til one day you’re up in the rarefied atmosphere and you’ve forgotten what sh*t even looks like. Welcome to the layer cake son.’

What it means for me is to never settle, to keep driving with a hunger. That’s part of my make-up, to keep at something.

A big lesson that is finally hitting home for me is that you can’t catch a rabbit if you’re trying to catch many rabbits. I’m nearly there. I have started to study the opportunity cost of dispersion, of not leveraging compounding. As Charlie Munger, who worked with Warren Buffett, advised, compounding mustn't be interrupted unnecessarily. Dispersion resets progress, hindering forward movement. I’m trying to avoid shiny object syndrome now and stay focused on fewer, important tasks – and executing them to a higher quality standard. Fewer things, better.

What does a typical working day involve?

Cold plunge and ambient light upon rising, with some intentional breathwork practice, followed by a light mobility routine to open-up my thoracic spine and hip flexors. Drop kids to school, have some Athletic Greens and coffee to break the fast and a block of focused work – one thing I need to move the needle on, usually in the form of writing. 

Mid-morning gym session followed by catching up on calls and emails. I try not to react to them first thing, so I avoid the phone as best as possible, once I know there’s nothing urgent to do with it early. Listen to a podcast, audiobook or read a little. Calls on an outdoor walk. Follow up on lead gen opportunities and engage current clients. Newsletter or LinkedIn content. Short sauna session to spark creativity and get away from screens. Pickup kids, dinner time, and so on. USA-based network work in the evening, reflection on the day – and intention for the next day’s three to five critical tasks.

What three pieces of practical advice would you give fledging physios looking to carve out a career?

  • stay curious that little bit longer and ask more questions. Kudos to Michael Bungay Stanier 
  • study people you admire, within and outside the profession
  • network with intention

We see you have edited a new Elsevier book titled Essential Skills for Physiotherapists. Tell us more

Essential Skills for Physiotherapists: A Personal and Professional Development Framework explores the vital intrapersonal and interpersonal skills that physiotherapists need for continuous growth. These are rarely taught in academic courses, clinical training, and other physiotherapy textbooks – but they make all the difference for our patients!

Non-clinical, ‘soft’ skills are crucial ingredients for a successful and exciting career in physiotherapy – and are transferable to other walks of life, and other professions. This book introduces the reader to trainable skills, such as leadership, wellbeing, career mapping and habit building. Other topics range from building a personal brand, interdisciplinary thinking, communication, networking and relationship building. The real challenge in our profession is often integrating knowledge and theory to practice – and this book unpacks how to implement these skills in different settings, to support clinical practice and professional development.

This unique resource is based on the curriculum from the successful education and mentoring platform, The Learning Physiotherapist (TLP), which compiles life lessons from a diverse range of world-leading international physiotherapists. Learn from elite professional sport, public and private healthcare practitioners, researchers, and academics from environments such as Liverpool FC, Cirque du Soleil, Isokinetic Medical Group, San Antonio Spurs, NHS, Aspetar and the IRFU (Irish Rugby Football Union).
Learn directly from these renowned industry leaders as they share priceless knowledge, learnings from mistakes and invaluable insights … plus ways to seamlessly weave these into your own practical scenarios.

The real challenge in our profession is often integrating knowledge and theory to practice – and this book unpacks how to implement these skills in different settings, to support clinical practice and professional development

What are the key features of Essential Skills for Physiotherapists?

  • provides actionable, practical advice on essential soft skills - an invaluable tool to enhance your practice and career
  • encompasses core principles of interpersonal skills that are often not covered in academic courses and clinical experience
  • packed with stories and anecdotes from various experts in real-life work scenarios, as well as tailored networking techniques for today's healthcare professionals
  • research-backed content, innovative methods, and high-level academic rigour to improve your own high performance and wellbeing
  • reflective key points and introspective questions to facilitate deeper understanding and useable takeaways
  • contributions from TLP mentors and students with experience in professional sport environments, private practice, public healthcare, research and academia

In the relentless pursuit of healing, amidst therapy rooms and locker rooms, and the battles against pain, one truth stands unwavering: mastery of these essential skills is the linchpin between a physiotherapist’s ambition and their patients’ recovery. Enjoy diving into this journey of personal and professional transformation with Essential Skills for Physiotherapists: A Personal and Professional Development Frameworkwhere the path to excellence begins, one skill at a time.

As Seth Godin, New York Times best-selling author of ‘Purple Cow’ and ‘The Dip’ and marketing thought leader said: ‘Let’s stop calling them soft skills. They’re real skills. And, they’re learnable.’

Bringing together lots of authors must be challenging – how did you manage the project?

Challenging is an understatement. It was very ambitious, and very hard. Maintaining communication with everyone involved and ensuring standards of high quality throughout the project made it a huge undertaking. Systems and processes around key dates, communication channels, and landmark points were all vital. I’m glad we did it though! It’s a special project and community. I can’t wait for the official book launch I’m planning.

How do you relax away from work?

Reading, gym, sauna, walking outside, playing with my children, writing, learning something new … etc.

David Clancy is a sports medicine specialist and consultant, and director of The Nxt Level Group: Recruitment + Professional Development for NBA, NFL, Premier League - the Team Behind the Team

To keep in touch with David, see his LinkedIn profile and follow him on X (formerly Twitter): @dclancyphysio

Email d.clancy@thenxtlevelgroup.com and davidclancy@thelearningphysiotherapist.com

Author: David Clancy
Power Diary
Power Diary
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