12.21.23|Posted by Ascenti Team

The best of both worlds: Hybrid working as an MSK Physiotherapist

Ascenti's award-winning virtual services give our physiotherapists more flexibility in their working pattern and the unique opportunity to develop their skills in new ways. Here, Senior MSK Physiotherapist and Clinical Mentor, Charlie Jones, explains what attracted him to a hybrid position with Ascenti and what he enjoys most about his role.

What does your working week look like?

I've condensed my hours so am currently working four long days. My week is a mix of traditional face-to-face clinic work, virtual appointments, delivering a telephone triage service called Physioline as part of our contract with Bupa, and a day of mentoring.

What attracted you to the virtual physio service?

For my Master’s degree I researched the role of virtual physiotherapy for managing musculoskeletal conditions and found that patients found it useful for initial advice or support, but also saw it as a useful alternative to in-person care in certain situations. This sparked my initial interest.

Coming from a very busy musculoskeletal outpatient clinic, I too believed that there was a role for virtual physiotherapy to help better manage the demanding caseloads I was facing, thinking regularly that some of the patients I saw could have been managed virtually.

Then I found Ascenti who offered the best of both worlds: an opportunity to explore the world of virtual physiotherapy and see if it was for me, whilst still maintaining my hands-on clinical skills in a face-to-face environment.

How has the virtual aspect of your role improved your skills as a clinician?

I think any clinical encounter contributes towards developing pattern recognition and gaining exposure to different ailments and conditions. Virtual physiotherapy however requires you to rely mainly on your subjective assessment, so I feel my questioning and communication skills have been tested and developed significantly over the past couple of years.

It also forces you to become creative with your objective examination, which has helped in my face-to-face sessions in certain situations as well.

Why do you think offering virtual treatment is important?

Fast access to a physiotherapist's opinion and advice is important for some people who might have concerning symptoms or need to understand the best next steps for them.

In terms of treatment, there are various reasons why face-to-face physiotherapy is not an option for some people, or just not what they want. I've had examples of people not having transport, living very rurally, not seeing the need for face-to-face physio, social anxiety, work commitments - the list goes on!

Some people are very self-motivated and keen to learn what exercises they can try to self-manage their problem, others just want a bit of reassurance and advice.

So I think virtual treatment is important to help make physiotherapy more accessible to a wider population of people.

What's your favourite part of your role?

I like that my week has variety. Each day is different. What I struggled with in back to back, five days a week clinic work was the repetitive nature of the role and feeling like I was always chasing the sweet taste of Friday afternoon.

Now I have flexibility and a range of different roles and responsibilities. This also means that I work with a wide range of teams, so I am always communicating with different people each day and getting to know people throughout the whole business.

How have you benefited from taking on a hybrid role?

My work-life balance has definitely improved. Being able to stroke my dog's fluffy head in between calls brings a bit of joy to my day. Finishing work and already being at home on my non-clinic days is a nice comparison to sitting in standstill traffic on the motorway for 20 minutes, listening to Lincs FM.

It has allowed me to create a structure of work around my life rather than try and fit life around work.

What do you enjoy most about working at Ascenti?

I enjoy feeling part of an exciting team of like-minded people all working towards a common goal.

The support system is great, the people are all fun and keen to help, as well as being knowledgeable and inspiring to learn from.

What do you think Ascenti can offer to clinicians who want to gain experience in remote physiotherapy?

There is a lot of support when taking on remote physiotherapy work. The training I received initially was high quality and thorough. The access to help via Microsoft Teams or email is almost instant, so you never feel alone.

I have definitely received more help, guidance, training and clinical support from colleagues at Ascenti, than in the four to five years combined before Ascenti. I think this is mainly down to how easy it is for us to communicate with one another, as well as the amazing team of people within the company.