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Celebrating Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week 2021 - Ryan's blog

Ryan Thomas, Junior Physiotherapist
Ryan Thomas, Junior Physiotherapist
This Pulmonary Rehab Week (21-27 June), we are shining the light of the fantastic work of our skilled physiotherapists. We spoke to Ryan Thomas about his role….

Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m Ryan, I’m 24 and from the New Forest. I studied Physiotherapy at London South Bank University. I’ve always been interested in health sciences from a young age. At 16, I started playing high level rugby and working with physiotherapists regularly. I was also exposed to physiotherapy from a young age as my family and I have always been active. Skip forward many years, and prior to starting my degree I worked on the acute wards at Darent Valley Hospital, Dartford. This opened my eyes up to what a physio does inside a hospital and how much care and support we can provide.

How did you come to join Solent?

Jumping forward to the end of my degree, I was met with one of the biggest challenges we all faced - the COVID-19 pandemic. When it all started, I was at University College London Hospital (UCLH) on the surgical wards and Intensive Care Unit (ITU), learning and adapting to the new challenges. I then left there after my placement ended and had a short break before getting my first job with Solent and Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust (PHU) on their combined programme. It was very difficult as there were very few jobs due to the pandemic. However, I came out successful and I have never looked back since. It has been an amazing experience so far in the past nine months and looking forward to many more to come.

What is your role?

I am a junior rotational physiotherapist currently at with the pulmonary rehab team with Solent . My job is to:

  • triage the referrals that come into our service from GPs and consultants with the rest of my team
  • complete initial assessments to find out if the clients are appropriate for the service
  • run exercise and education classes for multiple groups, all with long term lung conditions as well as support them on their journeys moving forward.

What do you enjoy about being a physio?

I love being able to help clients become more independent and manage their lung condition by themselves. It’s so important to have all the information when you have a lung condition, and pulmonary rehab is there to explain everything to you in a user friendly way and enable you to ask questions around your condition that may also affect others. It also allows us as professionals to personalise the information that we tell each of our clients so it can best help them.

Are there things about your role that might surprise people?

Most people think physiotherapy is massage and injury management, however, we actually do a lot of work with the lungs and the respiratory system. We can help with breathing, managing a lung condition and increasing exercise tolerance. We are highly skilled practitioners that look at the whole picture behind ailments, along with preventative measures and well as treatment types..

What is a typical week like in your role?

A typical week for me is split between our venues and working from home or the office. At our venues, the team will complete the patient’s initial assessment to see if they are appropriate to participate in our classes. Then we run a 90-minute class split into two different areas. The first is approximately 45 minutes of exercise where we work on helping build strength and cardiovascular endurance, then the second part is education. This is where we advise and educate about lung conditions and how to manage it, as well as the importance of maintaining what you learn from the classes once people finish. I would usually do 6 classes a week and the rest of my work time, I would be travelling to the next venue or completing behind the scenes admin to make sure that it is accessible to all and that everything is ready for the next class to start.

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