Becky Mcleer

Becky works as a Clinical Health Assistant with the community team working with People with Learning Disabilities at Surrey and Borders Partnership Trust

Tell us about your role and the impact it has on those work with

I work within a multidisciplinary team (MDT) supporting adults with Learning Disabilities in the community. I participate in initial screening clinics with another clinician where referrals to the service are assessed to understand the client’s need, support required as well as risk assessment.

I work closely with a range of AHPs – Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists (OT) and Speech and Language Therapists (SLT) as part of their assessments – physical health needs; sensory support; speech and language needs. I then carry out therapy plans such as an exercise plan; sensory integration plan; tools to support communication and frequently and consistently update the MDT on progress. I teach skills and liaise with care staff, clients and family throughout the clients journey.

The difference I feel my role makes to clients is it gives them “regular focused support” as there are more opportunities to “see clients” than in other roles. This promotes a client centred service.    

What are you most proud of?

My part in supporting a client to recover his functional ability to his pre-COVID-19 level. This client had had COVID-19 and was treated in ICU. Post recovery, he was transferred to a nursing home and when we assessed him his functional skills had deteriorated – particularly his ability to walk round. I provided physiotherapy exercises twice a week and whilst his mobility gradually improved, he still didn’t seem to return to his previous functional abilities. A

As an MDT we collaborated and undertook an SLT assessment, reviewing our communication approach which led to my part in creating a personalised language board for this client to help support the his understanding of the therapy process and gain trust and confidence in staff.

Staff used this when interacting with the client. This made a positive difference and he recovered, regaining his functional ability. It taught me the value of the MDT approach, individualised therapy, communication that is adapted to the client and the importance of understanding the client.      

What skills did you bring to the role, have you developed any new skills?

My previous work experience in dementia care and as a physiotherapy assistant gave me insight into the role. However, I was surprised how transferrable my skills were from my time in the probation service as that experience helped me value my caring personality; to understand the importance of teamwork and how to show teamwork skills as well as how to confidently liaise with multiple parties in and outside our service, e.g. social services and it gave me an awareness of risk assessment and its purpose.  

In this role, I complete mandatory training and am completing the Care Certificate. I’ve had specific training in ‘postural training’. I would really like more discipline specific training, as it helps me do more skilled work and give more back to the team, and develop my knowledge.

…the path into any profession is not necessarily linear, and that can be a good thing in terms of learning about yourself and developing skills.

What attracted you to a role as a support worker?

I was attracted to the role as I realised caring for people was my strength and I enjoyed working with people. My educational experience gave me this insight and my work experience as a support worker role in dementia and then as a Physiotherapy Assistant seemed to match the skills for this role. This role gave me my love for physiotherapy, as it combines the rehabilitation and care focus.

I heard about the job through NHS website. I felt very capable of finding the role and applying.  

What educational qualifications do you have? Are you working towards any new?

Care Certificate in process of completing.

Degree in Criminology and Counselling.

1 year study in Sports Coaching

Working towards Sports Massage Therapy Level 3 qualification in my spare time.

My plan is to do physiotherapy apprenticeship. I would love to do this with my current team as I would like to progress in my career with this service.

What are your future career plans?

What would help me most to do this is to secure this apprenticeship and this is part of my appraisal. My managers are very supportive, but I’m unsure if a physiotherapist apprenticeship is/will be available with this service – so getting clarity and certainty around this is important. 

In the meantime, I would love to see the development of a Band 4 physiotherapy technician role in this service as this would give the opportunity to maintain/show that commitment to the service, help support/ease physiotherapy workload by taking on more technical responsibilities, help receive more specific training and support progression to the apprenticeship and overall help staff retention/reduce recruitment costs which all in turn enhances continuity of care.    

What would you say to encourage others into a role as a support worker with AHPs?

I think it is important to understand your own personality and find the career that is the right fit for you. Also, appreciate that the path into any profession is not necessarily linear, and that can be a good thing in terms of learning about yourself and developing skills.