Top Contributor Aug 2023 | Lauren Heydenrych

We are thrilled to spotlight Lauren Heydenrych, a remarkable individual who has enriched the Physiopedia community with her contributions and passion for pediatric content. Lauren is also a regular writer for Physiospot and routinely attends team meetings despite her “load-shedding” in South Africa. Recognizing her outstanding contributions, unwavering enthusiasm, and positive impact on rehabilitation, we proudly acknowledge Lauren as our Top Contributor.  Her efforts continue to inspire us all, reminding us of the true power of knowledge-sharing and community-building. Join us in expressing our gratitude to Lauren for her exceptional contributions to Physiopedia and Physiospot.

Your name: Lauren Heydenrych

Time active with Physiopedia: 1 year and three months.

Current role with Physiopedia: Volunteer content contributor.

Where did you go to university/college? The University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg in South Africa, for a Bachelor’s in Physiotherapy.

Where do you work? I’m a purebred South African.
I work in the private sector now – in a variety of clinical settings. These include a stimulation centre for children with severe ability restrictions, at a mainstream school, in out-patient rooms, and I also get around with a good bit of home visits.

Describe your role: I’m a clinician – any “research” I do has to be applicable to the people I see every day. My area of speciality lies in the pediatric population – within the realm of neurodevelopment mostly. I also see myself as an advocate for the little people I treat and their families – learning how we can navigate challenges, access ability, and discover possibilities.

What is the most rewarding part of being a physiotherapist? As a clinician, I love working with my hands. There is an art and subtlety in what we do as therapists, and how that influences lives. I enjoy the relationships built between the children I treat, their families as well as the other professionals I work with.

The work I do with Physiopedia brings meaning into my profession in that it gives me an opportunity to educate myself and then uplift my whole profession. When I graduated – all those years ago – my thoughts were on how I could become one of those therapists who everyone knows and refers to. Now I think that what would truly be great is having physiotherapy itself elevated to a status where everyone refers you to a physiotherapy and everyone knows what we can do! Physiopedia is a place where connection happens and we can all uplift each other. I love this positivity!

What are some of the more challenging aspects about being a physiotherapist? The very physical nature of the work. I find that I have to maintain a certain level of fitness to treat others. Being up-to-date, not only with therapeutic modalities but also with what is going on in the medical world in general, is important to ensure adequate referrals and communication between professionals.

What are some of your professional passions? Play! Exploration! The wonder that is natural development and variance. I love being with, and helping, children develop in their natural environment. This sometimes means going out into the garden, or out onto the playground or bringing a bit of messy fun into therapy – I love working with the occupational therapists here. A new developing passion of mine is yoga. In particular, as to how it builds mindful movement into a child’s (and our own) bodies. It is one of those approaches which accesses cognitive as well as physical aspects of development in an inclusive and unobtrusive way.

What are a few of your personal passions? Activity and movement. When I get the chance, I love to be outside with my own kiddies. Getting tired, getting sweaty and out of breath. When I’m too tired for that, escaping into a good book works well enough. This has taken on a richer dimension as my children get older and we have started to enjoy books together.

What would be your advice to a newly graduating physiotherapist? You don’t need to know everything at once,  that’s why we have each other. Be curious, be patient and ask lots of questions. Keep good records and give time to reflect. Lastly, find good sources – like Physiopedia!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Still in the clinical setting, but hopefully, providing more training and support to those around me.

What are the best things about being a Physiopedia volunteer? Being able to connect. Physiopedia is a place where I can share and questions. The team has boundless enthusiasm and such positivity. It is a platform where I feel that I am part of something bigger and have the chance to learn with other like-minded people.

How has being a Physiopedia volunteer helped your professional development/career progression? Physiopedia has kept me going when it comes to research. It’s a place where I can put together constructive learning – it’s like making my own study notes when I create or review a page. It has also improved my research capabilities and – even though it doesn’t quite show here – it has improved my planning and time management.

What are your hopes and aspirations for Physiopedia? When I initially started, I had thought it would be great for Physiopedia to be able to connect with other allied rehabilitation fields – now that this has started to happen, I think it would be great to see it expand into this, becoming an established platform for many different allied therapists.

What is your favourite Plus course? That is difficult! At the moment, I am enjoying all of the paediatric ones, especially Pam Versfeld’s short courses.

Anything else you would like to share? My gratitude at how simple Physiopedia makes aspects of my work, and how uplifting the team is.  One thing that makes Physiopedia great is how on-the-pulse it is with our profession and how the team always seems to be looking at the bigger picture.