Entrepreneurial Physiotherapy Student Designs Pocket Revision Aids

Physiotherapy student Jason Timms has made the impressive move from health care professional to entrepreneur before he has even qualified.  From a simple problem that he encountered he has produced a solution that will be useful to all.  Here is his story….

Let’s face it, studying and working in Physiotherapy (much like other health professions) is hard work, particularly for the inexperienced student and newly qualified. The amount of information that we are expected to absorb and retain with the hope that we can regurgitate this when on clinical placements or first rotations is vast. Hopefully, a lot of what we learn from independent reading, university, placements, and courses does stick, and of course some people will be able to retain more than others. And I’m sure that as our careers progress this knowledge will become second nature, yet in the meantime, sometimes we need a little prompt or reminder. Now, I can only really speak for myself, yet if I am thinking this maybe others are thinking it too…..When I get in front of a patient, and they are looking at me waiting for answers about their condition or waiting to hear a confidently delivered instruction, sometimes the simplest of Physiotherapy terminology/contraindications/treatment protocols, etc are just not in my head!

Jason TimmsMy name is Jason Timms and I am now entering my 3rd year of Physiotherapy training at the University of Bradford (UK) and during my very first placement (which was in musculoskeletal outpatients) I decided to make myself a small, discreet, easily accessible, and robust pocket book which contained basic bullet points and information I might require which would help me whilst I am in front of patients or being quizzed by clinical educators. As well as many other students I have other small pocket books at my disposal, yet even though they are a good resource and much more exhaustive of information, I found carrying them was actually very cumbersome and was always getting in the way when I wanted to sit down. Therefore, these books would spend more time in the office than in my pocket. Plus, if I was a patient, I would lose some confidence in my physiotherapist if they started flicking through a text book. I wanted something that would literally fit in the palm of my hand.

After my first week on placement I began looking back on my lecture notes and well regarded resources and began to compile a list of subheadings for my first Flipio book, subheadings of the areas I was struggling to recall and also subheadings of information I envisaged may crop up in the future. First on my list of needed bullet points and information had to be the general health questions (I could never remember all of these), I also added testing for cervical artery dysfunction (CAD) protocol and contraindications, indications/contraindications/treatment settings for electrotherapy, the red flags of back pain and cauda equina, myotomes, capsular patterns, and more. I ended up with 18 pages in total. Each page was A7 size, I laminated each one and bound them with a split ring in the corner.

Flipio CardsThese instantly benefitted me on the placement.  I could quickly refer to my book should I have a mind block without having to leave the patient in order to consult my educator or refer to other books in the office, each page would stay open and fit in the palm of my hand, it was discreet, light and would easily fit in most pockets.  I was learning and revising whilst doing the job and became more confident in front of the patients, and in my ability.  The patients had more confidence in me as did my educator.

On his return to university Jason was promptly asked by others in his cohort to produce more of these pocket revision aids for them to use. Such was the interest from others, including tutors, newly qualified, and clinical educators, he decided to produce more professional looking and professionally printed versions of the musculoskeletal booklets and has since also produced a respiratory version. These are now available to everyone to use from Jason’s website.

This is how the physiotherapy profession can change, encountering problems does not have to put up a barrier,  take the time to find a solution and then share that with the world.  Whether it’s the solution to a clinical issue, professional development or even a business problem, sharing these solutions with the rest of us will reap rewards for you and our profession, just look at WebPT for great example of this.