David achieved a childhood ambition of joining the Royal Marines in 2012. He had always wanted to be in the military and thought he would have a long career there.
However, a series of injuries caused David to be medically discharged after only three years, and it was clear that he would have to start mapping out a very different future for himself.
David’s experiences of injury rehabilitation had brought him into contact with physiotherapists and whilst coping with recovery and the emotional upheaval of major change, he started to wonder if physiotherapy might be a new career for him.
David said, “I was looking for a role where I could really make a different in people’s lives and I wanted to continue to serve the public and my community. With some trepidation floated the idea with my physiotherapist and he thought it was a good one! I have not looked back since.”
Once a new direction of travel was established, David set about planning how to get to his new career as a physiotherapist.
He said, “I made a plan once I knew that my military career was coming to an end. My medical discharge board was in the early part of the year and I used my resettlement time to get the work experience which is essential for university applications.
I then applied to a local college and completed an Access to Higher Education Diploma. My passion to succeed was returning and I passed the Diploma with a distinction.
During my Diploma, I applied to numerous university programmes and accepted an offer to studying physiotherapy at the University of Nottingham. I absolutely loved it! I really enjoyed working with patients, and the academic challenge of the course was deeply rewarding. I also started to establish myself within the profession and represented the student body at the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP), also completing the Council of Deans’ Student Leadership Programme.
I graduated with a 1st class honours degree and was appointed to a junior rotational physiotherapy role in a local NHS trust.
I now get to experience the smile from a patient when they achieve something, they thought they couldn’t – and that feels amazing.”
Although his career in the military was much shorter than he would have wished, it helped to prepare David for life as a physiotherapist.
“Communication and teamwork are essential core skills of any successful physiotherapist and these ‘soft skills’ directly crossover from the military. Also, the discipline and resilience you build in the military during arduous conditions will prepare you for studying for a hard degree and the pressures of working the NHS.”
If you are leaving the armed forces and considering an allied health profession, have a clear plan. Prepare like you did when you wanted to join the forces and you will succeed.”
To find out more about allied health professions visit https://bit.ly/2xFsRVi.