Pulmonary Rehabilitation Physiotherapist story - Emma Chaplin

Published by: Respiratory Futures

Can you tell us a little about how you became a physiotherapist that works in Pulmonary Rehabilitation?

As a student, I really enjoyed my placements in respiratory and the clinical reasoning used to treat respiratory patients, I found intuitive and logical compared with MSK or neurological patients. I then went on as a qualified physiotherapist to gain a lot of experience, knowledge and skill within the respiratory care field ranging from critical care, surgery including general, cardiothoracic, vascular and amputees, maxillofacial, respiratory medicine, ECMO and paediatrics. The opportunities arose in the field of respiratory that enabled me to progress in my career in an area that really excited me. After 10 years in acute respiratory inpatient work, I decided to pursue a change in my career and joined the Pulmonary Rehabilitation team, initially within the research department, being part of a large RCT providing post exacerbation rehabilitation. Eventually, I moved to the clinical team where I have progressed to lead and develop the Pulmonary Rehabilitation service over the last 12 years.

What does a day in the life of a physiotherapist working in Pulmonary Rehabilitation look like?

For myself, as a senior member of the team, the day can be very varied. It might consist of assessments either face to face or on the telephone, running classes either in hospital or out at community venues, supporting patients with follow-up phone-calls or emails if they are doing home programmes or performing discharge assessments. Alongside this, there is the managerial part of my role. This involves the day to day management of the team, including HR and workforce scenarios, developing the service, screening referrals, attending meetings both internally and externally as well as locally and nationally. The opportunity may also arise for participation in research  within the clinical service which may include, identifying suitable participants, providing the intervention, collecting outcomes or writing abstracts as part of the workload.                                                    

Why are Pulmonary Rehabilitation Physiotherapists a vital part of respiratory healthcare?

Physiotherapists within Pulmonary Rehabilitation are a vital part of the multi-disciplinary respiratory team as we provide a holistic therapy programme for patients. Within the respiratory healthcare, physiotherapy has a role to play in all parts of a patient’s journey from inpatients to outpatients, whether it may be paediatrics or adults. There is also the opportunity to work collaboratively alongside other specialist respiratory services to be able to offer advice and support to patients and provide them with joined up quality care.

Seeing patients improve in their functional capacity as well as their quality of life, and being able to do activities that they previously had given up, is enormously satisfying and heart-warming.

Is there anything you would like to say to other Physiotherapists and Allied Health Professionals who are considering joining or taking up a role with BTS?

I have been a BTS member for 10 years now. It has given me the opportunity to attend conferences, to present abstracts, be part of the PR SAG, to become more involved in providing training courses for other professionals, to be a representative on the advisory groups for the development of the accreditation scheme, clinical guidelines and statements.

It is certainly a worthwhile experience as it can give you an insight into the wider respiratory field as well as within a specialist area of interest, allowing you to be involved and learn from other specialists and services within the field and be able to contribute to the future of respiratory healthcare. It is also a great opportunity for professional development and I would encourage other AHP’s to become involved.

Cross-cutting tags: