Healthcare careers are about more than 'doctors and nurses', says Aspiring Allies initiative
From their early years, children are socialised into playing games of ‘doctors and nurses’ and the allied health professions (AHPs) rarely get a look-in.
This kind of blinkered outlook can also influence the thinking of young people when they start to consider potential career options – and it’s one that members of a new Yorkshire-based initiative are determined to change.
Aspiring Allies initiative
The recently-launched Aspiring Allies initiative was developed by a group of AHPs who say they are ‘passionate about promoting the value of their roles across a diverse audience’. The website, and its engagement platforms, are managed by the West Yorkshire and Harrogate AHP Faculty, a collective of healthcare and education institutions based in the region.
You can find out more here: https://aspiringallies.co.uk
The website states: ‘Roles in healthcare are often perceived as being limited to medicine or nursing. From an early age, children play doctors and nurses rather than occupational therapists and dietitians. We want to showcase the wide range of alternative roles within healthcare that are equally as valid and just as rewarding.’
Three physiotherapists and one student feature as role models on the site, alongside Gemma Hawtin, a children’s physiotherapy assistant at Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust. She said: ‘I come to work every day knowing I am making a difference just to hear the patents and families are happy with the progress their children make.’
Roles in healthcare are often perceived as being limited to medicine or nursing. From an early age, children play doctors and nurses ... we want to showcase the wide range of alternative roles within healthcare that are equally as valid and just as rewarding
Inspiring role models
In the physiotherapy section, visitors can learn about the career paths of Sanita Kaur Bhamra (a student at the time she was interviewed), Maariyah Nazir (a recent graduate who is works in a rotational post in the NHS), and Martin Welton, who says he wanted to be physiotherapist from around the age of 14. He now holds an operational line management role with a team of community specialist nurses.
Advanced clinical practice
The final ‘inspirational’ physiotherapist is Amy Chambers, who is lead clinical practitioner and intermediate care team leader at South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Amy said: ‘I wanted to take on this role to expand on my knowledge and also to show just how much AHPs can bring to a medical/nursing team. I am the only ACP [Advanced Clinical Practice] at Rotherham that is a physiotherapist, the rest are nurses and paramedics by background.
‘This feels like it’s the next natural step in my career, in my previous management role I missed seeing patients face to face. I am looking forward to treating patients again.
Amy added: ‘However it is a big challenge going back to university at 36 years old with two young children, but I hope I am successful. This role has enabled me to secure my banding whilst maintaining clinical face to face duties.
‘ACP roles seem to be going from strength to strength and I really feel that AHPs have a lot to offer in these roles.’
The website also features a quiz to help visitors decide which of the 14 AHPs might suit them best. Visit: https://aspiringallies.co.uk/quiz/
What is an AHP faculty? Visit: https://www.hee.nhs.uk/our-work/allied-health-professions/enable-workforce/ahp-faculties
Claire Arditto, regional head of AHPs at Health Education England North East & Yorkshire, tweeted an announcement of the launch of Aspiring Allies on 14 July. Twitter: @ArdittoClaire