<< Back to News
Q&A: ExclusiveJun 27, 2024

Salford-based lecturer Stuart Porter adds The Student Physiotherapist's Companion to his portfolio

PhysioUpdate caught up with Stuart Porter, a physiotherapy lecturer whose tenth book – titled The Student Physiotherapist's Companion: A Case-Based Test-Your-Knowledge Guide – will shortly be published by Elsevier Health.

It will appear hot on the heels of another book in Elsevier's therapy-related portfolio – Essential Skills for Physiotherapists – which he co-edited.

PhysioUpdate readers can pre-order both books and benefit from a special discount offer from 1 July. To find out more, click 

Find out what motivates Stuart – for whom the word 'polymath' could have been invented – as he outlines some of his professional and personal passions (of which astrophotography is only one!) and gives his top tips for aspring writers.

 

 

Stuart's main job is as a lecturer in physiotherapy at the University of Salford Manchester

Power Diary
Power Diary

Tell us about your main job

My main role is as a lecturer in physiotherapy at the University of Salford Manchester. This is a role that I have held for many years now. I still enjoy the job as much as I did when I first walked in the door. My colleagues are the best I have ever worked with, and the students are absolutely stellar. In recent years, I have specialised in undergraduate and particularly first-year support and education – in addition to being the admissions officer for the full-time programme.

The role of admissions is particularly rewarding and one that I take very seriously. I do not think that is an exaggeration to say that in this role we do literally change people’s lives. I always try to keep sight of that fact and give the best advice that I possibly – although it might not always be what the potential students want to hear.

It is particularly rewarding to see students of mine who are in some extremely exciting roles and I am still in touch with many of them. The fabulous thing about this job is that when you are feeling particularly down, a student happens to remember you or contacts you and tells you that you made a small, but significant, difference to their lives. In this way, students have, I suppose, replaced the satisfaction I had from helping patients, since the needs of patients and students are very similar on some levels.

I'm not really ‘research active’ as I don't believe it is possible to devote time equally to research and teaching and do both to a good standard, although I do examine PhDs both internally and externally. I also use my experience of doing a PhD to illustrate that, with dedication, anything is possible. It was something that I found extremely challenging to do and I believe that I have common ground with my students in this respect.

I am coming to the end of my time as the external examiner for the MSc veterinary physiotherapy programme at the University of Liverpool. I am an expert witness in physiotherapy undertaking civil and criminal caseloads. That’s in addition to Health and Care Professions Council investigations, prison visits and assessment of children's needs for their education, health and care plans and so on. I feel these activities allow me to give something back to the profession in addition to keeping me clinically relevant and current, which is important in any healthcare profession. 

This is such a rapidly evolving and expanding profession. And we owe it to our students to give them an insight into the immense variation of our profession and its specialisms [Stuart Porter]

What prompted you to write The Student Physiotherapist's Companion: A Case-Based Test-Your-Knowledge Guide?

I have a 20-year plus relationship with Elsevier publishers and usually have one book on the go at any given time. My latest book is going to be quite a large book and the approach this time is to get as many experts in the field as possible to present some scenarios for physiotherapy students to engage with and then clinically reason their own approaches and then to finally compare them to the approaches of the experts. It is a big project which I'm very excited about and the book is due out later this year. It still astounds me that this will be the tenth book with my name on it.

What has the response been like so far?

So far, the concept has been met with a great deal of positivity and I am excited to see the book in print towards the end of the summer. This has been a large project involving many professionals and I hope that some of the topics covered in the chapters will never have been written about before. This is as it should be, since this is such a rapidly evolving and expanding profession. And we owe it to our students to give them an insight into the immense variation of our profession and its specialisms.

And you recently co-edited another new book: Essential Skills for Physiotherapists. What’s that one about?

I can't take much credit for that. My role here was as a co-editor with David Clancy taking the helm. Basically, the book is about the so-called softer skills in physiotherapy which are equally important as the hard objective clinical parameters that physiotherapy students need to know about.

How do you manage to juggle work, family, hobbies and writing demands?

I am one of those people that work better when I am busy. I still can't quite get my head around the psychology and physiology behind this phenomenon. All I can say is that it is very much a reality in my case. I suppose the downside is that because I have a job that I thoroughly love, I put a great deal of myself into it (as do my colleagues) and as with any finite resource, crashes occasionally happen – usually Christmas and summer.

This is when my family knows to just roll me from side to side on the couch for a couple of weeks. These periods are usually long enough for me to recharge my batteries and get back on the horse again for when the new students start – which is the greatest time of year for me.

Did you always want to be a writer?

I never considered myself particularly artistic, (although I love classical music and was classically trained in the piano) but the freedom that Elsevier publishers have given me to write has been an incredibly cathartic experience. I love the process of taking an idea from start to finish book and it has been my pleasure to work with some of the most gifted people in the world of physiotherapy

I am one of those people that work better when I am busy. I still can't quite get my head around the psychology and physiology behind this phenomenon. All I can say is that it is very much a reality in my case [Stuart Porter]

Three writing tips?

  • find your passion
  • don't be put off by others
  • see one and two above

Have you got a relaxing summer break lined up?

Yes. I do have quite a lot of annual leave left to take since it is often difficult to take leave during term time – a phenomenon with which I think most academics would agree. My problem this summer is that my hobby is astrophotography: taking photographs of nebulae and galaxies through a large telescope, which involves a lot of complex physics and long exposures to track objects in the night sky.

A particularly sensitive piece of electronic equipment decided to break about four or five weeks ago which is either going to mean another huge expense to replace it or a replacement part from China. Guess what? The skies are beautifully clear and I can't do anything about it, but c’est la vie!

Stuart Porter, PhD, is a lecturer in physiotherapy at the University of Salford Manchester. Keep up Stuart's activities on X: @DrStuP

Read PhysioUpdate's recent Q&A feature with David Clancy, lead editor of Essental Skills for Physiotherapists 

Author: Stuart Porter
Power Diary
Power Diary
<< Back to News
By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy and Privacy Policy.