Kate Harwood is Senior Respiratory Physiotherapist at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust and she has told us what drove her to do what she now loves so much, making a difference to others.
“My inspiration to be a physiotherapist stems from the Keswick School bus crash in 2010. I was lucky enough not to be on the bus that day but many of my school friends were seriously injured. Ever since then I was driven to do something to help, something that would help to improve people’s lives following a tragedy.
“Physiotherapy was so fitting because a lot of my friends had to go through physio due to the extent of their injuries. I will never forget the day one of our friends walked into our IT lesson, 3 months after the crash for the first time, we all stood up and clapped. A moment that has inspired me to this day. I have always felt guilty for not being on the bus that day, so I chose this role because I felt like I would be giving back and helping where I could not before.
“I studied at Keele University and been qualified for 4 years now and am part of the West Cumberland Hospital Physiotherapy Team.
“I have started a new role on Ward 2 as the Static Medical Physiotherapist. From early on in my career I have always aspired to this role. I enjoy the diversity and complexity of acutely unwell patients and absolutely love respiratory. Chest physiotherapy plays an important role in the management of patients with breathing difficulties and secretion clearance, a personal favourite of mine. On Ward 2 we work closely with the multidisciplinary team to provide the best patient care and discharge planning.
“Due to the wide range and complexity of patients on Ward 2, no day is the same. The day can range from completing simple mobility assessments for quick turnaround discharges, to intense chest physio to support patients clearing their secretions and reducing their oxygen requirements, to complex rehab following severe illness.
“Everyone says hello to everyone – we are all so friendly, supportive and like an extended family. The physiotherapy team in particular has really pulled together during the past two years of COVID and have been so supportive. I am so proud of what we have achieved and how we have worked (and to continue to work) through COVID.
“I love how every day and every patient is different. I love knowing that my role is making a difference and improving patients’ quality of life. There’s nothing I love more than seeing my patient progress, whether that be standing for the first time after being on a ventilator in ITU, to walking out of the door on discharge. Knowing that I have made a difference gives me a sense of reward and triumph; I could not imagine doing another job.
“I am bias but physiotherapy is one of the best and most rewarding professions out there. You have to be a people person to do this job. You have to love chatting to people and being interested in what they have to say. You can build really powerful relationships with patients by just sitting, listening and having a crack with them – plus they have such interesting and funny stories to tell!”