Welcome to my blog, I’m Eleanor. This page is to able to track and share my journey into becoming a veterinary physiotherapist. Here I will post reflections about how my learning is going and anything else that is related to my course. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact me using the page link above. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Two action plans were created, one at the start of the year (https://eleanorlrobinson.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/action-plan1.pdf) and a more recent one that reflects life after graduation (/eleanorlrobinson.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/action-plan-after-graduation1.pdf). This is because after graduation certain targets on the action plan won’t be relevant e.g. such as completing my degree, as that should already have been achieved. When the action plans were constructed, targets were made sure that they were Specific; Measurable; Achievable; Relevant and Time restricted targets (SMART targets). I had completed SMART targets before, as I was required to set some in order to complete my qualification in first line management. However, I found it useful to refresh this and made sure I had a physical copy that was personal to me, something which I often don’t do. In the future, I will definitely make sure I continue this, as I found it an effective way to ensure the desired goals were met, either now or in the future. Motivation also increased because of this, as I was able to reflect on the positives I had achieved. However, if they weren’t, they were adapted to a more achievable goal and are included in the after graduation action plan.
By completing the tasks on the first action plan, I was able to obtain information that was unknown to me. One example of this is achieving a saddle fitting qualification through the MSFC (Master Saddle Fitting Consultant). Before this, I believed that it could only be achieved through the Society of Master Saddlers. One of the reasons I preferred the MSFC qualification was due to it being more flexible, however around a week would need to be spent in France in order to complete the course. On the other hand, it would be able to be included in the NAVP’s Continual Professional Development (CDP) hours.
From my PEST analysis, I was able to adapt my action plan so it could factor out the negatives within my control. As a result of Brexit, the possibility of practising in Canada was also considered, as land is better value for money if I did decide to set up my own centre there. From further research, it was found that my degree would be accepted. However, after further consideration, it was decided not the best course of action. One of the main reasons for this is due to the difficulty to build a client base completely from scratch.
Just after Christmas in my final year, I plan on making sure I have a second job-based at home for when I finish in the summer, as I will not be able to continue with my student ambassador role at Writtle. This will ensure a more stable income as the office role is a zero hour contract. By securing a role, it would result in more disposable income that could possibly put towards equipment or CPD. In the long term, because of this, it would make my business appealing leading to more profit.
As stated in my action plan, I wanted to start networking so that I already had a larger client base for when I graduate and start practising. To do this I thought it would be a good idea to attend country shows as that will be where the majority of my target market will be. I did some research and found that the Royal Three Counties Show was on 15th-17th June 2018, which could be a possibility of attending. I did think about making business cards for such events. However, I thought it would be better to wait until I had achieved my equine bodyworker qualification. As if I waited I could include this on my cards instead of having to reprint them in the near future. It may also mean that people are more likely to use them, as it gives them more of a reason for them to get in contact with me.
When I’m at home I often visit a farm that I help to exercise their horses. I found this useful, as I’m able to work with horses that I probably will when I’m in industry. Along with this I also help with some of their livestock animals, such as cattle and sheep. Without this, I wouldn’t feel industry ready to perform therapy on these type of animals, due to only having three livestock practicals in first-year. While I’m there I don’t perform therapy there, however, I help with things such as lambing, feeding and general management. On the other hand, I’ve found it really useful to watch the animals, especially the sheep. One reason for this is because I’ve been able to improve my lameness detection skills. Especially when I had to watch a flock that we were trying to move fields. In my experience its definitely been easier with dogs and horses. This is probably because they are easier to control and you tend to look at one animal at a time than as a group.
Interpersonal skills have also been able to be improved as again, I’ve been able to mix with a range of different people. From this, I’ve been able to network and start to build up my client base for when I graduate. One way this was achieved was to hack-out one of the horses with some of the farm’s friends when they weren’t able to come. As a result, I was able to mention my degree to be able to network.
In order to fulfil another point of my action plan goals, I wanted to find a way of being able to easily access new information that I can add to knowledge. One of the best ways I found of doing this was following reputable research pages on social media, such as Facebook. David Marlin’s was one of those pages, who regularly sharing new research. Not only this he has also helped me to think more critically, due to him showing as many sides of the argument as possible. Along with this people are encouraged to share their opinions on the topics. This has also been useful at broadening my horizon, as a wide range of people tend to comment on his posts.
Each week this year I’ve been attending practical lectures with both dogs and horses. This has been for extrinsic factors, rehabilitation and performance and animal therapeutic techniques. A variety of topics have been covered such as saddle fitting, shoeing, therapy techniques and learning theories.
From my practicals, I have been able to develop my problem-solving, especially with saddle fitting. This is because in the sessions we were given a saddle and had to assess it’s ability to fit the horse it was meant for. However, not all saddles were appropriate at first. As a result, I had to use my problem-solving skills to be able to combat this by using items such as half pads and risers.
During practical sessions where therapy techniques were learnt, I found it difficult at first to be able to know what to expect certain structures feel like. However, as I’ve progressed through the year I feel that my “feel” ability has slowly begun to develop. Knowing my muscles’ origins and insertions could also be improved. As this will also help when I have to write rehabilitation and prehabilitation plans because I will have a better understanding of how the muscle should perform.
Communication skills between a small group of people have also been developed. As near the end of each session, each group had to present the finding they had found. Critical thinking was also developed alongside this, due to the lecturers asking hypothetical questions in relation to the findings. I found this useful, as it was good practice for when I am out in practice and have to talk to owners about their animals.
Back in September, a skills assessment was completed in order to see my progress I completed another one more recently. As it has been six months since the first one. Here it is below.
As stated in my action plan I wanted to make sure I took more of an active role in trying to receive feedback from university work. Therefore, after my exam results, I booked some tutorials to go through my exams with my lectures. This was very useful, as this was the first time I had gone through actual exam papers I had completed that counted towards my grade. After speaking to my lecturers, the information that I had included in my answers wasn’t wrong. However, I hadn’t quite read the questions properly as a result missed some important points parts to my answer. From this, I was able to know what to do to improve my exam technique. In the future, I’m going to make sure I bring in highlighters so that I can highlight the important parts of the question.
A PEST analysis was created that was mainly targetting my future veterinary physiotherapy business. Here is a copy below.
I just watched a podcast run by the True Geordie who interviewed Steve Barlett, one of the founders of Social Change. Over the course of the interview, it was discussed how he came in the position he is in today. They also talked about the importance of social media in business. This lead on to him mentioned how people have done certain things to able to stand out in the possibility they may be able to get at least an interview but hopefully a job. Such things include building a lego office and getting an owl to fly through a window with a USB stick that contains their CV.
After speaking to my University careers adviser, I was able to make some necessary changes to my CV in order to make it more appealing to employers. Here is the updated version below.