Being an AHP gives me a daily opportunity to recognise and completely respect the value of individual life – Erin’s story
Erin Louise is the Allied Health Professional (AHP) Lead for Solent NHS Trust and to celebrate AHP Day 2020, Erin shares her thoughts on what makes her proud to be an AHP and why they are so important to our workforce, our patients and our communities.
The Allied Health Professions or AHPs are the third-largest clinical workforce in the NHS. They are a complement of 14 different autonomous practitioners with degree-level training. In Solent, we currently have eight of the different AHP roles alongside our therapeutic practitioners such as psychology and social work, with each role as important as the next. The AHP workforce provides system-wide care to assess, treat, diagnose and discharge patients across health and social care, housing, education, and independent and voluntary sectors. Through adopting a holistic approach to healthcare, AHPs can support the diverse needs of patients throughout the life course from birth to palliative care and they are fundamental in helping us to keep as many people as we possibly can safe and well, at or close to home.
“This is a brilliant job where I can amplify the AHP voice both within and outside the trust so that the full potential of AHPs and their 14 diverse skills sets, can be released for the benefit of our patients and communities”, says Erin. “It is our time to wrap our skills around every person within our communities to help them to ‘Start Well, Be Well and Live Well’!
“My background is in physiotherapy and I have worked with several organisations within the Hampshire and IOW patch since qualifying 10 years ago. I’ve worked in nearly all fields of physiotherapy but chose to specialise in Neurology for three years before achieving my clinical ambition to work in Oncology and Palliative Care. Being able to work with palliative patients at a local hospice was so humbling and rewarding. The patient group are so connected with what really matters most that it really grounds you to the meaning of life.
“Being able to support these people and work with them to achieve what matters most to them in that moment, to make a difference when time is short and life has changed course unexpectedly and unfairly, is unbelievably rewarding. There is so much respect for lived experiences and life within that community and you work within an environment of ultimate respect – respect for a life lived and a life lost. It’s a mindful and humbling place to work and I’ve never felt so valued. No matter what patients were experiencing they always made you feel like you were enough and doing a great job. They conveyed total respect for human effort and just simply being human. You’re honestly never more connected with the value of life, than when you work with those coming to the end of theirs.
“After some time, I chose to move back to Solent NHS Trust to work on my other ambition of making physiotherapy education and access into the AHP professions as accessible and inclusive as possible. I feel passionately that the AHP career is for everyone, from every background and walk of life, and most definitely for those with disabilities! I have naturally found an ambition to make all the different areas of physiotherapy easy for others to learn, so when an opportunity came up to join the Educators in Practice team within the Learning & Development department, I had to take it!
“Being able to support the student experience on a wider scale and connecting with the universities to enable the development of our future workforce is such key and pivotal work. Understandably, when the secondment opportunity arose to provide professional leadership for all Solent AHPs it made complete sense to me to step up onto this platform and grab the chance to make an even greater difference.
“What Allied Health Professions mean to me is recognising that every life has value and should be given the opportunity, resources, time and support to excel. Being an AHP gives me a daily opportunity to recognise and completely respect the value of individual life, lived experiences and their unique contributions and drives me to find ways to ensure that is enabled for all. AHPs are highly skilled in critical analysis, problem-solving, and holistic thinking and I am proud to say I have enjoyed using each and every one of these skills in every role I have held.
“I am proud to be an AHP.”